CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND – RULES FOR PERSONAL BRANDING

Having a personal brand is important for an entrepreneur because now more than ever, it’s important for CEOs and founders of companies/brands to come out to the forefront and connect with their audiences. People connect with people. – Kevin Stimpson

People reinvent themselves all the time—to take on a new challenge, shift into more-meaningful work, or beat back perceptions that have hindered their career progress. Sometimes the rebranding is subtle or evident. Taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career.

A personal brand is, in many ways, similar to a corporate brand. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and the way in which you express those values.

Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.

An overwhelming 85 percent of hiring managers report that a job candidate’s personal brand influences their hiring decisions. Your personal brand should highlight your strengths, establish a reputation, build trust, and communicate the unique attributes that you bring to your current (or desired) industry. Cultivated well, your personal brand will signal to employers whether or not you’ll be the right fit for an open role.

Developing a personal brand might sound challenging, but there are incremental steps you can take to build credibility in your field. When you have a personal brand that clearly articulates who you are, what you do, and how you help others, it makes it easier for other people and entrepreneurs to see value in connecting with you. You can leverage your personal brand to build your network, both online and offline, quickly and effectively.

Building a personal brand that positions you as the go-to expert in a specific industry or niche helps you to attract more of your ideal clients. When you’re positioned as an expert, it’s also easier for people to refer clients to you. Having a strong personal brand helps justify charging premium prices for your products and services. Without a brand, you become a commodity that competes on price. And there will always be competitors that can beat your price.

Over time, your business will evolve. You may even start multiple businesses in different industries over the course of your career. Your personal brand stays with you as you move from one venture to the next. Having a personal brand helps to build trust with your audience, and position you as an authority and a thought leader in your industry.

The Brand Building Process

The first thing you have to do to identify your personal brand is to know who you really are. You have to sit back and reflect on your values, abilities and passions. What you like to do and what you’re great at. Then you include very important skills you have, and those things that really interest you, what you like to talk about and what you always want to find more about. Being clear about your values is very important when creating your personal brand. If what you do is not in line with your values, you will not be happy with your work or your business and you will probably end up quitting. Sit down and reflect on what is important in your life, what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Ask yourself:

1. In which areas of work do I excel?

2. What motivates me?

3. What characteristics have others complimented me on?

4. Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?

5. Which roles seem to drain my energy?

6. Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, ask friends, family, and co-workers how they would describe you. Once you’re more aware of the different facets of your personality, you can decide how best to brand them.

Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you to go. In addition to understanding your existing skills and competencies, it is important to assess your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to whichever industry or career you want to break into next. By doing this, you’ll uncover the skills and traits that make you distinct, as well as the areas where you need to improve or gain new knowledge in order to advance. Forecasting where you want to be in five or 10 years—and the attributes you want to be known for—can help you better determine what steps you need to take in order to get there.

What you offer and the kind of person you are will interest a certain kind of people, not everyone. You have to be very clear about who those people are. Study your audience and address them with your message. If you help your audience achieve their goals, they will help you achieve yours. At first it can be a bit complicated to know exactly who your target audience is. It will take you some time to get to know the type of audience that is interested in what you offer, however, this is essential in order to be able to attract the kind of people you can help and who in turn will help you. The main thing here is to understand the motivations of your target audience, what worries them or what interests them. This will allow you to better design the content of your blog, podcast or marketing emails in order to attract the attention of the right audience.

As you start mapping out the careers you want, it is recommended to compile research on experts in those roles. Find out who the thought leaders are in whatever field you’re interested in, and don’t just follow them, go online and find out if they have blogs, or where they contribute their thinking. Look for people who are successful and examine what they’re doing. Imitate them, and then do one better. In building a personal brand, your goal is to stand out—but you can’t rise to the top without taking inventory of who’s already there.

As you cultivate your ideal personal brand, it’s important to network regularly and effectively to grow your professional circle. Connect with peers and industry thought-leaders by going to formal and informal networking events. The more connections you make—and the more value you can provide in your interactions—the more likely it is your personal brand will be recognized. And, considering 85 percent of all jobs are filled through networking, regularly attending these events will help you not only build your brand, but potentially advance your career, too. At these events, don’t be shy about asking fellow attendees to meet again for an informational interview or a casual coffee chat. And remember, if you don’t get a chance to connect at the event, reach out via email or LinkedIn to spark a conversation.

Having current and former colleagues and managers endorse you is one of the easiest and most effective ways to define your personal brand, allowing others to communicate your value for you. Just as a business might cultivate customer reviews and testimonials for use in sales and marketing collateral, you too should cultivate your own reviews in the form of recommendations.

One of the most important aspects of personal branding is making sure your online presence is engaging to hiring managers, co-workers, and others—even if you’re not on the job hunt. With so many different social media tools available today, your online presence will likely look different depending on the medium you choose. While your story should match across all platforms, once you know where your targeted audience is most likely to turn, you can redouble your efforts in telling your best story there. Additionally, if you want one of your sites or profiles to be exclusively for friends and family, adjust your privacy settings to ensure that potential employers don’t stumble upon any information that could potentially harm your chances of landing a job.

Your brand is more than just an online persona; it’s how you carry yourself at home, in the office, and even on your daily commute. Your reputation is everything! The more opportunities you have to work with others, volunteer for projects, and assert yourself as a leader, take them. That’s part of your brand.

Leadership isn’t reserved for C-suite executives. Strong leaders exist at every level of the organization. Leadership comes from how you behave, how you act, and how you inherently interact with people. That’s real leadership. That story you tell, combined with those everyday interactions, ultimately define your personal brand.

Your brand is your public identity, what you’re trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear – Lisa Gansky

YOUR COMMUNICATION MIGHT BE HURTING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

Communication is an essential part in our daily human interaction, because through communication, we make our thoughts known. We co-exist with each other by constantly communicating with ourselves, whether we believe we are or not. The surprising thing is, we unconsciously communicate through nonverbals like body language and facial expressions, the tone of our voice and through our behavior. Relationships with people are prerequisite in the world because they form the basis and backbone of our interdependent network in which we depend on people daily for survival. Remember the shop attendant you met while buying groceries? You need him! That janitor who cleaned your office for you to work is also no exception. You need him to get your room in shape. But have you thought of the way you talk to him? Or he is just a janitor? The way we communicate with them goes a long way to influence our general outlook to life.  

In the world of dating, it is a stated fact that communication forms the framework of romantic relationships. Being able to communicate your opinion, and wants to your partner is an important skill everyone has to learn. 

Let’s delve straight into communication. Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place, person or group to another. As though as communication may sound simple, it is a very complex subject. It always involves a sender, a message and a recipient. Our emotions and feelings play a role in affecting the transmission of this message we would want to send. Emotional awareness places us in that position to communicate our feelings better. Again, you will notice the subtle emotions of other people and how the way they are feeling influences the way they communicate. The complexity of communication is why good communication skills are considered desirable by employers all over the world. Accurate, effective and unarguably, good communication is actually extremely hard. 

The extent to which we maintain our close relationships determine how we protect ourselves against biological, environmental and interpersonal assaults. It is stated that poor communication skills are the largest contributor to conflict in a relationship. Thereby intimate and supportive relationships are an important factor in dealing with conflict. Working through the conflict unites people as they deal with problems and challenges together. Relationships in which people do not learn how to communicate will face issues when it comes to intimacy, conflict and relationship. An important part of communication is understanding the other person’s inner world and having them understand yours. This is pivotal to true communication. 

There are no perfect relationships, and obstacles come and go. Lack of communication in good relationships cannot be ignored, especially in situations where both parties know there is a problem with communication. Not listening can hurt a relationship because it tends to cause unresolved issues. Have you ever had a mate cut you off when you speak? This person wants to communicate without hearing your thoughts. This can be a problem which can be harmful to the relationship. 

The effects of poor communication on a relationship can threaten the existence of a relationship itself. The symptoms of communication breakdown include feeling like the other person is not listening, arguing constantly, acting defensively and feeling like nothing of substance is being said. Poor communication can chip away self-esteem and self-confidence. 

That being said, it is essential to understand the uniqueness of every relationship and build good relationships on trust, honesty, openness and mutual respect. Bear in mind, every relationship goes through ups and downs and they all take work, commitment and a willingness to adapt. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go. That is something you will only know by talking deeply and honestly with your partner. The path to developing good productive, caring and supportive relationships is made by developing effective listening skills, probably the most important aspect of good interpersonal communication. Listening empathetically is important in terms of demonstrating an understanding of the other person’s point of view. 

Another aspect of relationship development is the ability to stay focused on your partner, on the present and on your feelings to find solutions of mutual benefit. Relationships are built on compromise therefore trying to be a winner in a relationship simply does not work. 

For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It is staying in love – or preserving that “falling in love” experience – that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s worth the effort. A healthy, secure romantic relationship can serve as an ongoing source of support and happiness in your life. Through good ties, you could strengthen all aspects of your well-being. By taking steps to better your communication, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts even for a lifetime. 

How to fix Communication problems in Relationships 

  1. Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess 

Many of us don’t spend enough time finding out what is really important to us in a relationship. Even if you do know what you need, talking about it can make you feel embarrassed, or even ashamed. If you have known each other for a while, you may assume that your partner has a pretty good idea of what you are thinking or what you need. But this is wrong. It is much healthier to express your needs directly to avoid any confusion. 

2. Take note of your partners nonverbal cues 

So much of our communication is transmitted by what we don’t say. Non verbal cues which include eye contact, tone of voices and gestures such as crossing arms communicate much more than words. When you can pick up on your partner’s body language, you will be able to respond accordingly for the relationship to work effectively. 

3. Be a good listener 

While a great deal of emphasis is placed on talking, if you can learn to listen in a way that makes another person feel valued and understand, you can build a deeper, stronger connection between you. When you listen, you are engaged with what is being said. You hear the subtle intonations in your partner’s voice that tells you how they are really feeling and the emotions they are trying to communicate. Been a good listener doesn’t mean you have to agree with your partner or change your mind. But it will help you find common points of view that can help you to resolve conflict. 

Understanding more about communication and how it works is the first step to improving your communication skills with your partner. A good understanding of the process will help you to ensure that you become adept at understanding your partner and resolve any conflicts amicably. 

Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thanks for reading 

Eliezer 

THE JOURNEY OF WRITING

Good morning readers, I trust we are all in perfect health? 2021 looks like it is going to be all sorts of amazing. I am pretty sure most of us were in church to cross over and give thanks to God, preparing ourselves spiritually for this year. The Crossover service is essential in our lives when transitioning from one year to another; to make resolutions and desire to leave old habits back in the old year. The purpose of this blog post is a reflective one, reminiscing on how the journey of writing has been so far. It is also to motivate upcoming and budding writers to keep writing, because you might never know who might be reading.

We all do need inspiration for major activities that come our way. In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, the important role of inspiration is often overlooked. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. Inspiration gives you the drive and discipline to continue whatever you have started. It keeps you in sync with your passion and fuels it. Why did I decide to write? Just for the love of it.

4 years ago, I had finished watching an episode of the famous detective series, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, a regal, brilliant obsessive-compulsive high on the drug of puzzles typically snooped around a crime-scene, and collected his information. He observed countless details about the scene and the victim (many of which the police seem to have overlooked) and then from that information arrived at a conclusion that may not be necessarily true, but could be probable based on the information available.  Sherlock Holmes, together with his assistant, Dr. Watson used a technique known as inductive reasoning in solving all of their crimes. Inductive reasoning allowed Sherlock to extrapolate from the information observed in order to arrive at conclusions about events that have not been observed. Here, we see the detective walking into the scene a blank slate; with no pre-supposed ideas about what may have taken place. And he goes on to gather information until he arrives at a conclusion — that still may be incorrect. And yet more information will come and come until he is quite sure he’s arrived at the right conclusion.

His assistant, Dr. John H. Watson created a blog, on the advice by his therapist to write his thoughts and feelings about returning to civilian life from the military as form of dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He does not start regularly updating until when he first meets Sherlock. The blog became an internet phenomenon and was viewed by nearly 2000 people in one day. These fans even started showing up at the crime scenes in order to catch a glimpse of the duo even before they started work. It was then I decided to start my own blog.

Instead of crime scenes, I decided this blog will feature cases seen at the hospital from my own perspective. From interacting with the patient for the first time, through diagnosis to treatment and discharge. This would enable people with similar complaints not resort to self-medication but seek the necessary treatment at the hospital.

Then it got to the point where I had to start writing. Did I even trust myself to produce good content? I locked myself in a room one day, with a pen and a paper and told myself “I was going to write!”  I penned down the free floating ideas that came to my mind without a topic in mind. Interestingly, what I realized was the more I wrote my thoughts down, they seemed to center around a particular theme, which led me to the Title ‘Missing Ingredient’. I had wanted to understand the essence of living and the most important thing in our life as individuals; the bits and pieces that mend together to make our lives meaningful. Before I realized, I had scribbled down a 1000 words.

I could not hide my joy, when I realized I had been able to write something down, whether meaningful or not. Just the idea of being able to write was what kept my joy in check. However I had to share the content for people to read. My idea behind my blog jumped alive and the creative ideas kept coming, as I quickly went to Google and searched “How to create a blog”. Even though I came across a lot of alternatives, the option I have never regretted choosing is WordPress. WordPress gives you the ability to follow the work of other bloggers, and also be followed back. The more likes you get on a post, it meant a lot of readers were enjoying your post, motivating enough to keep you writing. I quickly created a username after creating the blog and selected an appealing theme to make reading easier, and match the content I had aimed to produce. After successfully creating the website, I had to creatively come up with a name. Just because I wanted it to be a form of Online Journal, I named it Diary of a Growing Black Man.

After editing the piece consecutively, I rewrote the final piece in my diary and named it my first blog post. I then proceeded to type this piece in WordPress. WordPress automatically outlines the errors in your post in red so further editing to produce the masterpiece can be done. In addition, there are a ton of fonts to select from, to get the readers stay fixated on a post. Immediately, I was done typing, I let out a huge sigh of relief and published it on my website. https://eliezerontim.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/the-missing-ingredient/

Again I went on Google and searched “How to Make Your Content Viral”. I can’t understate how influential Search Engines have been in my life because as curious as I am, they always seem to have the right answer to my questions. In order to create content that would go viral, it is essential to share the content on various platforms including Social Media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, and also share them on receptive websites which accept guest blogposts. I immediately followed these steps and had a large readership within a day.

The feedback I got from my audience was so overwhelming, that I felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Many were actually surprised I had written such a good piece, even though it was my first time. Checking the daily statistics was the best way to start my day because it gave me a sudden surge of dopamine to spring forth the ideas into being. In addition, it gave me so much happiness and joy.

The hardest part of any venture is actually not initiation but maintenance. How do I keep getting content to keep my blog active? The inspiration behind most of my content is as a result of talking to different people and getting to know their views concerning a wide variety of topics. I am the person who will strike a conversation with a random stranger just to be inspired enough to write a post. You never know how much someone knows until you ask. I also try to limit the post between a 1000-1500 words because humans have a short attention span. The feedback I get from my readers after I exceed the 1500 word limit is still overwhelming. For all of you who read my posts, I appreciate you all. Let’s be great in 2021.

Fast forward 4 years later, I have been able to publish over 65+ articles on this website. I am thinking about being an author of a best-selling book to hit the Ghanaian marketplace. Also I have managed to put up another blog mainly for Mental Health Articles for which I have about 15 articles. https://www.onlinepsychiatrygh.com/blog . I have been employed by an affiliate marketing company known as Skills to Dollar Bills, and finally, I manage the social media content of an NGO, DYKB (Development of Youth Using Kindness from a Biblical Standpoint).

Writing has been a fulfilling experience for me because I get to channel and make my thoughts known using a piece of paper and a pen as a scaffold. My views and opinions are heard visibly, and finally, with the right gig, I know it will be rewarding financially.

You have probably always wanted to write but don’t know how? Remember Hard Work Beats Talent! Whatever comes through your mind can actually be written down. The fluid thoughts are meant to be heard. It could be true the escape route for most introverts tends to be writing, but I know a couple of extroverts who are excellent writers, so bear in mind, everyone can write. Scribble down whatever comes into your mind, and don’t stop until you have made sense and put a full stop to the last sentence.

Bear in mind, writing teaches you persistence, determination and consistency because good writers take several days to finish editing a good blog post. Aside their vocabulary being enriched, they develop keen eyes for good posts and strengthen their mind by reading further and deciding to write. You might want to learn the use of punctuations, develop your own style of writing and take further courses. This will render a voce to your writing and place your name on the writing leaderboard.

Keep writing, keep pushing because a professional writer is an amateur who did not quit. Stephen King, a famous author states “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot” Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river. All you have to do is sit down, remove all distractions and start writing. In the initial phase you might need someone to edit your works until you become perfect.

“You don’t start writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it is good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That is why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence” – Octavia E Butler

Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

THE FRACTURED FAITH

Hello lovely readers, quite a beautiful Sunday it is. I trust you are all in perfect health? Well yes, I am! This should be my last post for the year. 2020 has been all sort of things right? Tiring? Draining? Amazing? Well, it has been God, this whole time carrying us through and assuring us He would definitely bring us to an expected end. If you are alive, count yourself blessed!

Currently, I am in isolation. By isolation I know you have already figured out what it means. During this period, I have conducted a thorough assessment of the self, and identified what I stand for, my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, and ultimately my personality. A lot of amazing things can happen in your life when you come to the realization of self, so I will highly recommend it for anyone battling with self-esteem and confidence issues. Also, I have clearly defined my goals, vision and resolution for the upcoming year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year despite the persistence of the COVID-19 virus.

We meet people for different reasons in our lives. Some are passers-by, others are acquaintances and colleagues, and others are friends. Identifying this helps you build a solid network and solidify your inner circle. Ultimately the people in our lives should not drain us of the energy we have left. We are supposed to feel uplifted and encouraged just by interacting with them. Bear in mind, everyone’s experience whether good or bad is supposed to have an impact in your life, from which you can draw lessons and experience from.

The story begins with a 17 year old boy in the confines of a hospital bed after sustaining lacerations from a blunt cutlass some days ago. A typical display of biblical dexterity resulted in the admission of one, and the incarceration of the other. This scuffle ensued just because of a misunderstanding in coming into agreement with the word of God. “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

This man grew up in a loving home where both of his parents were very supportive of his goals, passion and ambition. It was his childhood dream to be a pilot; to escape the family’s status quo of being a doctor, lawyer or politician.

On his 17th birthday, his parents began to have issues. Issues they didn’t see coming. The man of the house had accepted an appointment from the Ministry of Defense. This meant he would be spending a lot of nights outside home, typically tightening up security in the country. This directly meant a higher pay grade and social recognition in the country. Was the security in his family tightened too? Were the bolts screwed tight?

As private as his wife was, she strongly objected to his decision. But her objection was not enough to change the already made-up mind of her husband. Little did they know their children were already falling into bad company.

One day, Maggie, his wife opened the door that led to the room of their first born son, Kwesi. She was led to go straight to his room after she had finished evening prayers. What welcomed her was a rather unbearable stench, with her son covered completely in smoke. “What are you doing in here, Mum? Couldn’t you have knocked and waited for the door to be opened for you before coming in?” Kwesi said, as he hid the packet of marijuana he had bought the day before under his bed.

Margaret feeling ashamed, slowly closed the door and wondered what had happened to his prayerful son. A boy who did not know how to skip worship and prayer sessions even in his busiest of times. A boy who frowned at any tiniest vice committed with so much hatred. How did he fall within the clasp of marijuana? Might have been from bad friends? The infamous peer pressure!

It was there she came to the realization her family was in shambles. She immediately reached for her phone but put it down, when she remembered her husband could only be accessed through a one way private number. What was she going to do?

Unable to sleep the whole night, she waited for her husband’s return the next day. Heavily disturbed to the core, she could not pray neither could she eat.

To her utmost surprise, her husband returned home the next day heavily drunk! This was very unusual for the morally upright man she had known for the past 36 years. The neatly pressed suit he had left home with, had been replaced by a filth-stained singlet. Immediately, she rushed to receive her husband as he alighted from his car in a dazed fashion; brushing her own complaints aside.

What welcomed her was a dirty slap. “Pick up all your things, you are leaving this house. I am bringing in a woman I love. A woman I would want to start a new family with. This family is dead!” He said as he trotted off to bed.

Margaret was torn apart. So many troubles for a day. She felt broken! Reality nudged her right in the eyes, when she attempted waking up from sleep. ‘Not today, Maggie!

She gathered the little courage she had, dialed the digits of the only man he knew aside his husband. “Dad, I am coming home!” …

Her husband’s chauffeur stood there quietly unable to take a step. He was confused. Should he comfort this woman who was clearly in despair? Or head home, like he does every time?

As he stood there dumbfounded, Kwamina, the last born charged towards him with a Bible in his hands. “Why does this have to happen to my family in a matter of split seconds? Where is the God I serve? He should come down and cause a miracle” He desperately said. No amount of Biblical quotes from this chauffeur could calm this boy down. Kwamina was so agitated he did not realize he had mistakenly picked up a wooden plank lying beside the car.

When the chauffeur realized what had happened, he tried to grab the plank from his grip, however what greeted him was a sound smack in his face in absolute fury.

The adrenaline rush of the chauffeur retaliated by finding a nearby cutlass and slashing the wrist and abdomen of his abdomen in two complete moves.

The whole scene turned bloody and horrific as Kwamina lay in a pool of blood unable to speak. All raised tempers abated as everyone rushed to the scene. The drunk father, with deep regret reached for his car keys and drove their son to the hospital in the company of his loving wife, the chauffeur, and his drug dazed son.

*****************************************

Following the declaration of the presidential results after the elections, there has been unrest in some parts of the country. This had led to the death of some and the admission of others in a critical state. But this is not a time for war, but a time for peace. A time for us to accept and appreciate our differences, and move on as a country in spite of this pandemic. A time for us to pray and seek the face of God in the face of this constantly mutating COVID-19 virus. These Christmas celebration should be a period of merry making even in the presence of an empty pocket.

Be of good cheer, and make merry for you do not know what tomorrow brings. Pray and then plan your future. But remember the future starts now.

God’s hand moves when people and pastors pray together. Through prayer, God greatly multiplies our efforts and makes the impossible, possible.

Enjoy the Christmas celebrations and Thanks for reading!

Eliezer

DO YOU NEED YOUR KIDNEY AT ALL?

I had the opportunity to educate my fellow colleagues in the Akatakyie fraternity on measures to take good care of their kidneys, identify the risk factors that predispose them to the development of various kidney diseases, and measures they could employ to reduce these risks to the progression of kidney diseases. The purpose of this post is educate my readers who could not join the session last night on the various kidney disorders, signs and symptoms you could look for, if you suspect a person has a kidney disease for prompt referral to the hospital for a resolution of these symptoms.

I remember back in primary school, usually on my way from home, we used to fill our journeys with stories. Random stories children of today would not talk about. It was a myth that people who traveled long distances from Ghana to Libya drank their urine as they passed through the desert. This happened when they had ran out of water to drink and felt very thirsty. I had wondered why anyone in his right senses would take in something so bitter and toxic without cringing. As I passed through medical school, I got to understand the composition of urine and this probed me to understand their motives in these times of crisis.

Why a kidney? Do you need two kidneys at all? Why are the kidneys positioned in your abdomen and not near your neck? The kidneys play a vital role in ensuring you have the best of health. It works by basically filtering your blood. By this I mean it absorbs all the toxins you have ingested from the different kinds of drinks and food you have consumed, and makes sure your blood has the right composition at all times. The right composition of blood makes sure your hormones, electrolytes and cells work optimally at all times.

This is done by employing the use of the nephron- the basic functional unit of the kidney. It is said the kidney has about 1 million nephrons which work day and night to make sure your kidneys produce urine continuously even when you are asleep. A part of the nephron known as the glomerulus plays its role by acting as the bodyguard at a party who ensures people either enter or leave the party without an invite. This invite is their respective sizes. The glomerulus does not restrict the movement of water and some proteins; however larger molecules and other blood components which include white blood cells and platelets are not allowed entry through the glomerulus. If these are found in your urine, it could signify an underlying renal damage for which you would need urgent intervention by a renal specialist.

The kidney also produces a hormone known as erythropoietin which is vital in the production of red blood cells, in instances where your blood oxygen level is low. Lung diseases such as pneumonia and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) could reduce these oxygen levels so require the production of an increased amount of red blood cells. These red blood cells are needed to trap oxygen from your lungs. Conditions such as Chronic Kidney Disease result disrupt the synthesizing ability of the kidneys in producing erythropoietin thereby cause anemia.

Some people with kidney diseases also present with weak bones mainly caused by a deficiency of calcium. This is termed hypocalcemia.

After urine is produced, it has to move from the kidney to the bladder by means of a long pipe called the ureter. Because there are two kidneys, there are two ureters. But there is only one bladder. These ureters run their course and end in the bladder located at the groin region. Kidney stones located in the ureters can prevent urine from reaching the bladder. However if this happens in one kidney, the other ureter can compensate for the extra function of the malfunctioned ureter. This could be seen on imaging (X-ray) as a dilated ureter. Kidney stones also known as renal calculi can impact themselves along various aspects of the urinary tract and cause severe pain which initially begins at the region of the kidney, and moves along to the groin. It could manifest as blood in the urine. This is termed as hematuria.

Blood in the urine should always be reported at the hospital because this could signify any underlying pathology from the kidney to the urethra. However certain medications used in the treatment of tuberculosis, and certain foods which includes blackberries and beet could cause a red discoloration of the urine. A test known as a urine dipstick can be used to differentiate the red discoloration being caused by the presence of blood from that due to other causes.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has determined that an adequate daily fluid intake for men should be 3.7L and 2.7L for women. But the water that is taken should match or possibly exceed your daily losses through urine. In the presence of a dry atmosphere, there might be the need to consume more water to prevent dehydration which could have an adverse reaction on organs in your body which includes your brain.

Some people pass a lot of urine in a day. For this to be a problem, the amount should be greater than 3L per day. This is termed as polyuria. The opposite on the spectrum is known as oliguria where people pass scanty urine a day (500mls or less). Causes of oliguria include an acute renal failure or an obstruction along the point of the urinary tract. Anuria is the condition where no urine is passed at all, in 24 hours. This is an emergency so there is the need for swift presentation to a clinic for evaluation of its cause and treatment.

Most people present to the clinic with signs of infection which could be caused by either infections of the kidney and its associated tract. This is known as a urinary tract infection. If this infection happens from the kidney to the ureter, it is termed as an upper urinary tract infection. If it occurs below, it is known as a lower urinary tract infection. Their presentations differ, so it is essential the health professional identifies the symptoms and signs based on the story told by the individual and the findings elicited on examining the patient.

Based on the symptoms, signs and doctor’s discretion, he might order tests which include a renal function test to evaluate the functional capability of your kidney, a full blood count to assess the blood cells or identify any underlying infection, an ultrasound of the kidneys to estimate the sizes of the kidney and a CT scan in extreme cases.

The risk factors differ for the diverse forms of the kidney diseases. Being at risk means it is more likely you will get kidney disease. But this is not absolute. Risks factors that predispose to the development of kidney diseases include a family history of kidney disease and being hypertensive or diabetic. Africans are known to have an elevated risk for kidney disease notably chronic kidney disease, compared with European Americans. Much of this risk is due to genetic variations in a gene that creates a specific protein in the body.  As you progress in age, your predisposition to diseases increases, mainly due to a weakened immune system. This could result in having a kidney disease.

In addition, taking alcohol in extreme amounts and smoking have been shown to be risk factors of kidney disease. Obesity further compounds these problems and worsens your protection from illnesses of the kidney. The use of herbal preparations for different reasons is a disturbing cause for presentation of most of our energetic guys to the hospital with kidney disease for which they might require dialysis.

It is therefore essential you protect yourself against these risk factors because Prevention is better than Cure. Because high blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of kidney failure, many of the prevention tips are related to managing these two conditions. Ways you prevent kidney diseases include

1. Managing your blood sugar

2. Managing your blood pressure

3. Maintaining a healthy weight

4. Eating a heart-healthy diet

5. Reducing salt intake

6. Drinking enough water

7. Limiting alcohol

8. Cutting down smoking

9. Limiting over-the-counter pain medication

11. Exercising regularly

Life is meant to be enjoyed and enjoyed to the longest extent. Protect your kidneys because Healthy Kidneys are a Healthy You.

Thanks for reading. Have a lovely weekend!

Eliezer

GOD IS GREAT

Have you ever met that person who just seems to have it all together? Usually someone is good at something, when there are some people who are gifted and talented in just a few things. Who is the most talented person you know? Do you know that person who has a strong faith, great personality, athleticism, a strong intellect, musical and artistic, and good looks? There are times we all privately aspire to be like someone else who has qualities we see as better than ours. But we must remember we’ve been created in the image of the One who displays every quality perfectly!


Do you realize who you are? Do you understand your own potential? Do you comprehend you’ve been made in God’s image? That fact changes everything! It changes why you exist, your personal significance, your purpose in life, and the way you treat others. When we are looking at God’s greatness, we must remember that we’ve been created in His image to reflect and glorify Him.

Who can take nothing and create?

Hang the planets in their place?

Hold the world in His hand while thinking of man?

Only a great God!

Who can make dust into a man, and Measure Mountains in His hand?

Every word He’s decreed is already seen

Only a great God!

Circumstances may have made you doubt the greatness of our great God. Over the past week, I have to had to lay my big brother to rest. This has had a big toil on me because we had plans -even though we hardly communicated. Plans to get to places where we could elevate our family from a high pedestal. But He’s gone! Rest In Peace Nana Owusu, till we meet again! I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

It is the will of every person to enjoy perfect peace, and this comes from being rest assured in the word of God. The word of God is Life. It is what keeps us alive when we are down, what divides soul from spirit, joints from marrows and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

You don’t need to see God before you believe in Him. He is everywhere and has promised no child of His comes to harm. The journey will be difficult but He has assured us of an expected end!

It is the hope we have in Him, that keeps us confident as Christians, because we have no power of our own. Horses and chariots are prepared for the day of battle but Victory comes from the Lord!

Irrespective of what you are going through this morning: The financial difficulties, the marital distress, that chronic illness – be rest assured that God has not forgotten you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a great God like that!

When you think about the greatness of God, you can’t help but bless Him with your praise. Our God is all-knowing because He knows our faults, our weaknesses, our sins, and our rebellions, yet He loves us. Our God is all-powerful because He could snuff out our lives in an instant, yet He continues to bless us with life. Our God is all-present because He is everywhere at all times, He watches us, and is involved in all that we do. Yet, He shows grace and leads us in our lives away from spiritual and physical danger. When we think about the greatness of God compared to our sin, we cannot help but bless His awesome name!

Do you find yourself doubting God when you
are faced with a difficult situation? Are you often frustrated by negative circumstances? Is it hard for you to trust God with the challenges of life?Are you in the midst of difficult circumstances? Are you facing challenges that seem beyond your ability to cope? Do not despair, because God is with you, and He wants to help you.

How you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life — your desires, motives, attitudes, words and actions — is influenced by your perception of who God is.
Your self-image will improve once you realize the awesome greatness of God and the value He places on you. The more accurate your understanding of who God really is and how He is involved in your life, the more highly motivated you will become to excel in the use of your time, talents and abilities.


God is completely trustworthy. God has unlimited abilities, so He can do anything. He is all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing and sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Allow the truth about Him and His marvelous character to transform you. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be.

Remember, with God all things are possible. With His unlimited abilities, nothing is too difficult for Him. With His absolute integrity, He will always do what is right. And with His unconditional commitment to you, He will always do what is in your best interest.

It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself – John Piper

Have an awesome day and a Happy holiday!

Eliezer

I VOLUNTEERED WITH D.Y.K.B

Hello readers, Guess what? I decided to volunteer for a nonprofit organization – Development of Youth using Kindness from a Biblical Standpoint (D.Y.K.B). What influenced my decision?  The society values volunteers so much that monetary value is placed on their time. Their volunteer work may be more valuable to them than our regular work because money means nothing to them. They do it for many other reasons, but primarily to help other people or animals. Nevertheless, there are many side effects of volunteering that make it even more worthwhile. We volunteer because it makes a difference.

Lately, I have begun to utilize my skills which include proofreading, designing résumés and websites, and writing cover letters because I must admit that talent hits a target no one else can hit and genius hits a target no one else can see. For your information, I designed a website a couple of days ago, to bring psychiatry to the doorsteps of people and reduce stigmatization because the stigma is real. Check out https://www.onlinepsychiatrygh.com/ and be a member. Let us make interactive discussions which span a wide array of issues that pertain to our mental health. The latest being the anxiety we experience in the face of the atmosphere of COVID-19 and how best we cope with it.

Not to digress, I joined D.Y.K.B as a volunteer occupying the position of a Social Media Assistant. What this means is I would be bugging your statuses from time to time with website links to support the good cause of D.Y.K.B.  

D.Y.K.B seeks to support the youth population in a way that advances their ability to affect the communities they are in, and not just be baffled by overwhelming situations they encounter.  To grow together and share ideas, and then put them into action. Good cause! Isn’t it? How does it seek to achieve this? Empowering the youth by lifting them up and lending support in the areas they need.

Who doesn’t enjoy the feel of water dripping unto their skin from above, below the sky? Their Sustainable Habit Program includes the construction of multiple showers in rural areas of Ghana. This has been coined the Ghana Shower Project. This is a low cost building research trip in Ghana which commences actively in June 2021.

Notable among the projects, is a partnership with Adamah Veh Zerah, an NGO registered in Ghana. An organization poised to offer sustainable development solutions to villages and communities throughout Ghana. The organization’s strategies consist of the teaching and the application of renewable energy, renewable resources, natural building and holistic organic agriculture.

D.Y.K.B, in conjunction with Adamah Veh Zerah has started the Earth Bag Seed Bank at a village in a suburb of Cape Coast known as Ansapetu. Cape Coast is located in Ghana’s Central Region.

Cape Coast might be the former capital city, but when held up against Accra, it is the very picture of serenity. You will have to look elsewhere for your endless traffic jams. This is not to say it does not feel lived in, but the atmosphere is more redolent of a coastal community than a big, bad metropolis. Pastel-hued fishing boats fringe the beaches, groups of schoolkids trip along in the sunshine and dinky shops and houses create a through-the-ages architectural mishmash. Past the lagoons on the edge of town, meanwhile, are some of the most enticing swathes of beach in the country.

All of which makes it unsurprising that Cape Coast is such a tourist draw. The center is an appealing place in which to watch and wander – particularly down by the crescent-shaped harbor – but while there’s an intoxicating feel to the pace of life here, it also has a sharply sobering history.

I got to the premises of Ahmahtsiyahu Ben Yisrael, the Founder of Adamah Veh Zerah where I received one of the most receptive welcomes ever. Ben is a visionary who seeks to help the people of Ghana by being an exemplary leader and a strategist.

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 The Earth Bag Seed Bank

The name sounds amazing, doesn’t it? A project, near completion, encapsulates 10 inches of earth’s rough job. Jute bags have been used as a binding agent that holds down the walls of the bank, with a proportion of cement to sand and clay in the ratio of 20:80. Its floor has been casted with cement only.

The atmosphere in the bank is colder than its environment, with its source of electricity from a solar panel. This earth bag would be a storehouse to seeds which would be provided to farmers. To ensure continuity of this project, farmers would return a 10% of this seed which would be distributed further to another set of farmers, enhancing the law of multiplicity and promoting organic farming.

Adamah Veh Zerah, an NGO seeks to abort the consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and encourage the dispatching of natural produce – right from the earth. A genetically modified organism contains DNA that has been altered using genetic engineering. Genetically modified animals are mainly used for research purposes, while genetically modified plants are common in today’s food supply.

Engineers design plants using genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, to be tougher, more nutritious, or taste better. However, people have concerns over their safety, and there is much debate about the pros and cons of using GMOs.

To avoid the usage of fertilizers, he employs the use of Composting circles. This is a trench dug in the form of a circle which serves as a temporary house to compost in different stages of composting. The compost comprises biodegradable material which include food waste such as banana clippings

The stunning fact is, plants structured at the corners of this circle grow healthier and faster than other plants, because they receive their nutrients from the biodegradation of the compost in the circle. As the compost gets darker, they are harvested with buckets to supply the whole of the farm. Ingenious! Isn’t it?

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This compost is used to plant crops like include ginger, passion fruit, turmeric and lettuce on the farm. These crops are held in wooden boxes held at the edges with bamboo pieces. The sight of pawpaw trees intersecting every region of the farm makes the farm a view to behold. Who just doesn’t love pawpaw?

The farm is powered by a 40 – feet hand dug well which initially powered sections of the house. It’s innovatory how Ghanaian men were creative in digging the well using a typical display of dexterity, team work and intelligence.

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To cap it off is the Up draft Passive Solar dehydrator.

What do you do with all this produce from the farm? Sell It? Gift Them Out? Consume Them? You would definitely want to preserve them for it to last for a very long time. This beautiful device uses the principle of pressure difference and convection to deliver heat using a solar collector installed in front of the device. This aims to preserve all kinds of food kept in it. This could be used in low resource settings in the absence of electricity. Portable ones are yet to be designed for market and commercial use. Fascinating right? I know!

The Earth Bag Seed Bank is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to bring together data experts, civil society, youth organizations, academia and the private sector to ensure the youth of Ghanaians grow into strong young leaders that have the mindset to tackle any task at hand, talk a friend out of negligent choices, recognize an individual’s vision and be willing to support the vision with ideas for the greater good of Ghana as a whole. At the end of the day, greatness is determined by service.

Other projects started by D.Y.K.B include a Youth Debate Team  where about 15 to 30 young men and women, aged 13 -17 years, take on ground level issues within the community and develop future programs to help boost the capacity of the organization.

Volunteering has many benefits. We notice a subtle shift in ourselves when we volunteer. We feel more connected to others, and we become less absorbed in the normal stresses of daily life. We are able to share our experiences with others and want to help more.

Did you know that, when you volunteer, you are improving your life and maybe even your health? The benefits of volunteering are countless. There are social, emotional, physical, and professional perks. High school students volunteer to boost their college applications, and college students volunteer to improve their job search post-graduation.

Such programs benefit everyone.

Other generations, too, are finding that civic-mindedness has become an asset in the workplace. Related and non-related volunteer work on a résumé can often showcase your skills, as well as reveal openness to teamwork and a talent for innovation. Employers overwhelmingly look favorably on job applicants who have volunteered.

I encourage everyone to volunteer because wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.

Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful weekend!

Eliezer

 

 

FEAR NOT

I have questioned a lot of things. Things about me, things no one would question. Purpose of Existence? Purpose of Living? After many twists and turns, I think I’m gradually getting an answer. Lately a friend was going through a distressing situation for which she needed psychological help. She was crippled by fear and incapacitated by terror because of series of nightmares she had, began unveiling themselves like the plot in a stage play.

I have been pensive throughout this pandemic, reflecting on a lot of things. How a miniature virus could just emerge out of nowhere and turn the world around. Affect leaders at the helm of affairs. Turn superior economies into rubbles of sand and dust that they realize the need to seek a call far greater than their own abilities and efforts.

People die with the whiff of air, and are infected with the passage of time. Health workers hesitate to tend to patients who have blazoning temperatures on thermometers by their bedsides. Debate to attend to subjects with coughs dancing in their perimeters. Calculate whether to intubate an inmate, who presents with severe difficulty in breathing; who has failed the tried mechanical means – in the absence of Personal Protective Clothing.

I was touched when I heard the news of an Iranian doctor, Shirin Rouhani who passed away as she kept treating coronavirus infected patients till her last breath. She stood her grounds even in the absence of the required number of medical staff and cared for fear-stricken, hope-hidden, bed-ridden, lungs- bitten sufferers of coronavirus to the point of death. She picked up her handset to a distressing call her willpower tried so hard to deafen. A beat so thundering, her stethoscopes could not shame. Cries so deafening, her eardrums could not tame.

Before this deadly virus hit Africa, there were untrue claims and memes that Africans were immune to this virus. It was however a wakeup call for us to weaken ties with neighboring and distant countries by closing our borders, and strengthen our laid back health care systems. A time for us to connect the dots which link us as a family related by a culture.

But then as it seems the world is in turmoil. Bush fires in Europe and the persistence of a pandemic which takes on a new shell every second. But as Christians, should we be fazed? Should we be catapulted in a whirl storm of constant uneasiness and abhorrence? Should we let fear predominate our thoughts and actions?

What is fear?  The unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined. It is that bad feeling you have when you are in danger or perceive something bad is about to happen. As we mature, we develop a better understanding of the world and its dangers. We learn to discern real threats from imagined ones. When fear comes, we do our best to think rationally and manage our emotions until the menacing situation passes.

It is normal to be afraid when your test comes out positive after being exposed to a COVID 19 infected patient. What do you do in these moments of fear? Do you let it cripple you, or it raises your head high that you come out strong and say “Not this time!

The enemy uses fear to decrease our hope and limit our victories. There is nothing wrong with realistically acknowledging and trying to deal with the identifiable problems of life: unmet needs, conflict, health problems and dangerous situations. To ignore danger is foolish and wrong! But it is also wrong, as well as unhealthy, to be immobilized by excessive worry. Fear will cause us to buckle and settle for less than God’s best. It’ll cause us to disobey after diluting our trust in Him, and even when do stay strong, it’ll rob us of our peace and joy.

Remember the account of the Israelites in Exodus where they were surrounded by the brigade of Egyptians on chariots. God commanded to be fearless, to be still, to be watchful and finally be quiet. The Lord fought for them! “He looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the arm into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, making them drive with difficulty and He covered the entire army of Pharaoh with the Red Sea, that not even one of them remained”

This is the power of our Great God. He expects us to leave no room to fear. Fear is a tool the devil uses against us to make us miserable and destroy our lives. It begins as a thought and then creates emotions that can rule us. It often becomes a strong, intense feeling that tries to move us to make a foolish action or tries to prevent us from doing something that would be good for us.

The Bible instructs God’s people many times to “fear not” For those who have the proper awe and respect for God and who strive to obey His commands, God makes some wonderful promises;

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10

He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

We do not face our fears alone. God created us and he knows each specific fear we have. He created our inmost being and knit us together in our mother’s womb. He will strengthen us in every situation and always for his glory. Whether it is the peace we find in his promises, or the confidence that our identity and worth comes from him and not in what we do, the Lord will give us the strength he promises. God is not reactive, but proactive in our lives. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that is at work in us by God’s Spirit.

And we do not need to fear tomorrow. God wants us to be filled with hope and trust, not fear. He has given us hope through the promise that he can uphold us by his strength today.

It is God who is with us, and he will strengthen us with his right hand. In his perfect way, he knows exactly what we need for every situation. In every situation, his righteousness will work for our holiness. He will be our strength.

Irrespective of the condition you find yourself, you need not to fear for God is with you!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Eliezer.

DETERMINING YOUR PERSONAL VALUES

Hello lovely readers, pardon my absence on my blog for a while now. I am at that phase of my life where it seems everything is at a standstill but then I still keep trusting God to intervene in due time. I would like to introduce this commonplace word value, and delve deep into how we can acquire values which would shape our vision and make this world a better place for us to live in.

What are values? How can they orient your life, and possibly impart meaning and a sense of purpose?

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines values as “beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life”. Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They determine your priorities, and, deep down, they are probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

Values are deeply held beliefs that certain qualities are desirable. They define what is right or fundamentally important to each of us. They provide guidelines for our choices and activities.

According to advances in neuroscience, values are neural processes resulting from binding cognitive representations of concepts, goals, and beliefs together with emotional attitudes. The term “values” is shorthand for hinting at complex levels of imagination. It ranges from one’s dreams and their roots in unconscious night processes to more preconscious daydreams and conscious aspirations. Values are potential capital fueled by hope and the motivation to expand and go forward.

Values are something you care about—a lot! Values can “change the world”. Values measure what people feel are desirable, vital, useful, and worthwhile. They influence the direction of how we feel, think, and make choices—perform and behave.

When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good and you are satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.

This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important.

Values have transformative energy. As aspirations, values create visions for the future. Grasping one’s values consciously, people become self-leaders. As self-activists, their living example is “larger than life” both to themselves and others thus easing value performance in real-time.

If your personal vision is going to have any real meaning, you have to live it. And where you live your vision is in your values, because values are what guide your behavior on a day-to-day basis.

Living by your personal values sounds easy-at least in theory. And yet so many of us don’t consistently live by our values. Have you ever been in any of these situations?

  • Someone said or did something that you strongly disagreed with, but you didn’t speak up about it and felt ashamed afterwards.
  • You set goals for yourself and then failed to meet them.
  • Your life or career has not worked out the way you wanted them to.
  • What you want often clashes with what you’ve got to do or what’s “practical.”
  • You’re so busy pleasing other people that you are not even sure what your own true values are.

If any of these resonate with you, you will need to learn what personal values are and why they’re important.

Let’s start with a personal values definition. Personal values are the things that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviors that motivate us and guide our decisions.

For example, maybe you value honesty. You believe in being honest wherever possible and you think it’s important to say what you really think. When you don’t speak your mind, you probably feel disappointed in yourself.

Or maybe you value kindness. You jump at the chance to help other people, and you are generous in giving your time and resources to worthy causes or to friends and family.

Those are just two examples of personal values out of many. Everyone has their own personal values, and they can be quite different. Some people are competitive, while others value cooperation. Some people value adventure, while others prefer security.

Values matter because you’re likely to feel better if you’re living according to your values and to feel worse if you don’t. This applies both to day-to-day decisions and to larger life choices.

Most of us don’t know our values. We don’t understand what’s most important to us. Instead, we focus on what our society, culture, and media values.

Can you articulate your top 5 to 10 values that are most important to you?

Without undergoing a discovery process, it’s challenging to identify your personal core values. It is easy to speculate and idealize what you should value. But knowing and accepting what you value takes effort.

Choosing Core Values

If you are not sure about your own core values, or if you would like to clarify which of your values are top priority now,

  1. Start with a Beginner’s Mind

It’s too easy to presume that we know the answer at the start and to, therefore, never embark on a creative, personal discovery process.

Adopt the mind of a beginner—someone with no preconceived notions of what is—to give you access to inner truths to which your conscious mind is yet unaware.

Take a deep breath and empty your mind. Remember that your conscious mind doesn’t have all the answers. Create a space for new insights and revelations to emerge. Getting in right mental and emotional state is an essential first step.

 

  1. Choose your top six to eight values from a wide-ranging list of values.

To do this, you need a good list.

Financial Security; Compassion; Health/Fitness; Nature; Accomplishment; Creativity; Dependability; Loyalty; Beauty; Bravery; Gratitude; Love; Connection/Relationships; Learning; Leadership; Survival; Self-Preservation; Security; Adventure; Family; Work; Success; Calm; Freedom; Humor; Recognition; Excellence; Other___;.

Now use one of these lists to select your top six to eight values. Yes, you can change your mind. In fact, it’s natural to modify some of the values on this list as you face new and challenging situations. However, other values represent enduring ideals that you would only change under duress.

 

  1. Think of three to six people you most admire or love.

Consider why they are so important to you.

Step 1: Identify and write down six people who are important role models or valued connections for you. Step 2: Think of the values they embody.

Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, suggests that you uncover your values by naming your heroes.  For example, why do you admire, say, Martin Luther King, Jr? Is it because he fought for social justice? Is it his commitment to non-violence? His kindness to others?  Identifying the specific values embodied by your heroes can inspire you to adopt those values for yourself.

 

  1. Chunk Your Personal Values into Related Groups

Combining all the answers from step 2, you now have a master list of personal values. Maybe there are between 20 and 40 values on your list. That’s too many to be actionable.

Your next step is to group these values under related themes.

Values like accountability, responsibility, and timeliness are all related

Values like learning, growth, and development relate to each other.

Connection, belonging, and intimacy are related too. Group them together.

 

  1. Determine Your Top Personal Core Values

Now comes the hardest part. After completing step 4, you still may have a sizable list of values. Here are a few questions to help you whittle your list down:

What values are essential to your life?

What values represent your primary way of being?

What values are essential to supporting your inner self?

As a unique individual, you possess certain strengths and weaknesses. Your values matter most to you.

How many core values should you end up with? Too few and you won’t capture all the unique dimensions of your being. Too many and you’ll forget them or won’t take advantage of them.

While the number of core values differs for each person, the magic range seems to be between 5 and 10. Rank them in the order of importance. This is often the most challenging part.

You may need to do this step in multiple sittings. After doing one round of ranking put it aside and “sleep on it.” Revisit your ranking the next day and see how it sits with you. Then, go through the process again.

 

  1. Observe yourself and learn.

As you live your life, be mindful of the choices you make. For several days, consciously put a label on the values behind your key decisions at work and at home. Pay particular attention to whether the values you chose above are reflected in your daily life. If not, what values are you expressing or living by as you go through your day? Are there patterns? What can you learn about what you want, what you are willing to give up, and what is non-negotiable in your life? If you experience a lot of dissatisfaction with your choices, you may not be living up to your values or you may need to re-evaluate what is most important to you.

 

  1. Focus on the bitter and the sweet in your life.

Dr. Hayes suggests that you learn about your values by thinking back to both the sweetest and most painful moments of your life. These moments could direct you to what you care about most. For instance, what were the peak experiences that might reveal key values? If you won an award for teaching, consider that “leadership” or “motivating others” might be significant values. What were the most painful experiences? If you know the pain of being excluded by others, you might realize that “compassion” is one of your primary values.

 

“Values” is one of six key elements to knowing who you are. The others are interests, temperament, biorhythms, life goals, and strengths. But of all these, knowing your values is the royal road to self-knowledge because values choices both reveal and build character as you act on them. Your values are even more important than your goals, because you might not reach your goals, but you can almost always choose to live by your values. Knowing your core values can help you reduce stress, communicate with more compassion, increase your self-confidence, and power up your willpower.

Thanks for reading.  Have a lovely day!

 

 

THE ESSENCE OF JOURNALING

Yesterday was a statutory public holiday in Ghana, hence I enjoyed my rest by continuing a plan I started 3 days ago on the YouVersion app on my phone -Making Time to Rest. Today being the 3rd day lists journaling as an essential part of the rest process.

Writing, especially self-exploratory writing done on a regular basis, has been linked to emotional well-being and a strong sense of self-knowledge and self-trust. Writing gives insight, it gives perspective, it’s a problem-solving technique, and it can serve as an outlet for bottled up emotions, unresolved trauma, or for creative expression. Journaling is a great way to introduce self-exploratory writing into your life.

Integrating journaling as part of our daily practice does not take a lot of skill. I discovered my life took on a different turn when I started journaling-writing down my life on the canvas of a book as the days progressed into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years.

I would like to do a throwback to when my Dad got me my first diary. I was just thrilled at the mere sight of it, and the thought I had a diary, but I did not know what I was going to fill it with.

I went through his old diaries on the shelf of our library to gain a fair idea of what to put in my new found love in the form of scribbling ink. His diaries had a mixture of appointments he had fixed under the different dates and excerpts from church activities he had attended in his youth with lots of bible verses in them. He made journaling fun.

Back to me, I found myself journaling the day’s activities at the end of the day in the journal. A skill I had picked up in one of the movies I had watched where a sailor stranded on a ‘no-man’s’ land kept writing his daily adventures in a book he took along. This had then become the main theme of the series.

I again tried to create interesting activities with the purpose of filling my diary with fun-filled activities. “The day I almost drowned when I went swimming for the first time” when I could have just stayed indoors and played video games, “The day I met Akosua on my way to buy prepaid credit at a distant place from home” when I could have saved cost by purchasing it a few miles from home and buying top up credit for my new phone with the extra money I had.

I have been writing something about my every day for almost 4 years now. It has been one of the greatest and most freeing experiences in my life because I can actually slow myself down to think about what’s truly happening around me as well as my part in it.

What is Journaling? As an adult there are many great benefits to journaling as part of a self-care routine. It helps clear out all the ‘junk’, sweeping your mind clean to allow for breathing space. By journaling and documenting our thoughts we are participating in a process of deeper personal understanding which can have a very positive impact on our own health.

Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a diary or journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. There are several different ways to do this. Journaling, as a stress management and self-exploration tool, works best when done consistently, but even occasional, sporadic journaling can be stress relieving when the practice is focused on gratitude or emotional processing.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress with journaling is to write in detail about feelings and thoughts related to stressful events, as one would discuss topics in therapy, but there are several different ways to practice journaling. The method you choose can depend on your needs at the time, and your personality; just do what feels right.

There are two writing techniques–or journaling methods–which can help make your journaling sessions more satisfying, efficient, and effective. These two methods are the following:

  1. Proprioceptive Writing
  2. Morning Pages

Proprioceptive Writing – consists of listening to your thoughts and slowing down the thought process to the time it takes to write down what you’re thinking. It involves inner listening and an honest exploration of your thoughts and feelings. In addition, it connects your mind with your emotions, and it strengthens your sense of self.

Morning Pages – As the name suggests, Morning Pages are to be done in the morning; the waking mind is more open to free-form writing and can more easily jump from one subject to another without the constraints set by reason.

Journaling allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. It’s also a good problem-solving tool; oftentimes, one can hash out a problem and come up with solutions more easily on paper.

Journaling reminds you of a life worth living. I like to think of journaling as “my life’s story”. That alone makes it fun, enjoyable, and inspiring to write a little about myself and what is going on with me every single day. After you have journaled continuously for some time and you look back on the things that you have written you may realize that your life is much more interesting and deep than you once thought. In fact, if you are down on yourself a lot, journaling is a great way to get around this and discover that your life is truly worth living.

Journaling about traumatic events helps one process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved, and by engaging both hemispheres of the brain in the process, allowing the experience to become fully integrated within one’s mind. Journaling can also help you to focus on areas of your life that you’re like to focus on more often.

When you start to write about your feelings and how situations in your life change your feelings you gain the ability to start to process those feelings. Rather than leaving feelings completely bottled up inside, you can put them down on paper and get them out of your heart and mind so you can process and understand them more which will lead to a more serene existence. This especially works well with feelings like anger, jealousy, resentment, etc. Putting these feeling out on paper and letting them take their course is a great way to stay balanced.

As for the health benefits of journaling, they’ve been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:

  1. Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  2. It improves cognitive functioning.
  3. It can strengthen immune system response.
  4. It can counteract many of the negative effects of stress.

The simple act of writing a few words, sentences, or paragraphs everyday can have a profound and instant effect on your life for the better. Journaling can change your life. It makes you a more interesting person through the years and makes you feel more interested in your life.