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HELLO, I'M DEB SOFIELD


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Hi, Deb Sofield here, thanks for coming to my site. I’m known in the industry as three things: a dynamic keynote speaker, an author and a coach. I love the opportunities I have to help people find their voice and learn to use it for their success. I believe that once you learn the skills to Speak without Fear it will change your life. Once you develop the confidence that your message needs to be heard, that you are the best voice for your message and that you have the ability to speak, you can change the world.       [read more...]

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About this Blog // Lighting your world one word at a time

  • DO WHAT LIES CLEARLY AT HAND

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Life Lessons, Radio

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    What do you do when you don’t know what to do? That is a question that has come up a lot lately with some projects that I am working on. Sometimes despite my best intentions I look down the path of life and wonder – what do I do next?

    I am sure it is an issue that many face since, in our world of plenty, we have many great choices. And sometimes there are more ways than one to get to the finish line. But how do you know what road to take? And what measurements should one use to make sure they are doing the right thing and the best thing for their purpose?

    What I have found is similar to my thought for today. Whenever I don’t know what to do, I just try to do what comes next. What comes next in a moderately logical order helps move me to the next goal, the next job or the next project.

    Instead of stopping, because stopping doesn’t get you anywhere but stuck, you have to make a leap of faith, a walk of courage, or a run to the finish line…to push through.

    Lately I have been reading a little devotional book that was sent to me by my friend Heather and in the book I came across the quote from Sir William Osler: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”

    I think sometimes we get discouraged because although we can see a light at the end of the tunnel – the end seems so far away. So instead of becoming discouraged, lets turn that into courage and do what clearly lies at hand. When you don’t know what to do, you have a few choices: you can stop, you can re-direct or you can move in the direction that you feel led.

    Stopping seems to be the most common of all the options. I cannot begin to tell you about all the people I meet when I am speaking who want to talk about next steps for their life. When I ask, “What are you doing now to move you to where you’d like to go?” They just look at me and usually reply, “Well, I don’t know what to do so I’m just waiting.” Waiting for what, I ask. “You know – waiting“… to which I reply, “Waiting for your knight in shining armor, to win the lottery, waiting to get the call from who knows who?” Really what are you waiting for?

    Unfortunately most don’t know who or what they’re waiting for, they’re just waiting. Waiting for someone to show the way, waiting for someone else to do the work, waiting for someone to make his or her life complete.

    I understand that we feel safe when we wait for something to happen, a chance to opening, a call to come or an opportunity to present itself. However, when we stop for any great length of time it might signal to ourself that we have given up, we’ve grown weary, we’ve accepted the idea of failure. When that happens I find it fascinating that the short rest along the path now has become a stopping point, the end—finished.

    Now sometimes in life you do have to stop. If you’re heading in the wrong direction stop and get back on the right path. If you find yourself careening to the edge of the cliff stop and hold on. If your life is dangerously close to ending, by all means stop and breath and get help to get back on track. There is no shame in stopping if continuing would cause great harm to you or others.

    Instead of stopping perhaps you can re-direct your walk to set you on another path for success. If you can, then by all means let’s take the other path.

    Please don’t be discouraged if others question your choice in life. They don’t know what you’re going through and they don’t know your calling. I doubt they know the reasons you have for your detour but as long as you are continuing to move down the path for your success, I encourage you to keep going.

    We all grew up with the poem of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both…

    For many who are reading today please know that sometimes in life you have to re-direct or take the road less traveled to reach your calling, your destination, and your future.

    Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.

    One of the reasons this quote caught my attention is that too many times I see people of good will simply get stuck staring down a darkened tract. They are hoping to make sense of the darkness instead of turning around and looking at the light that lies clearly at hand. For you to be able to do that you must move in the direction that you feel led.

    I like to believe that most of us have an internal compass that knows the way to true north. I know you probably hear that phrase true north a lot but do you know its meaning? Here is what I found: True north refers to a point on the earth that remains stationary, for all practical purposes. By using the North Star as a reference, one can always tell the direction of true north and by measuring the angle of the star from the horizon, determine their latitude. The North Star is the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper.

    Hence the metaphor: In life’s journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what is the right path for us personally. Knowing our true north would enable us to follow the right path.

    Or stated for my purpose today – move in the direction that you feel internally led.

    When we really strip away all the expectations of others and stand alone in the light, we will find and see and make a decision to follow our true direction. If you are healthy enough to understand that you have been put on this earth for a purpose, then you should know instinctively that you have worth, you have value, you have significance.

    And I will add as a person of faith, I believe that our Heavenly Father knew us before we were born. And if He knew us, then rest assured that He knows you now and He knows where you’re going.

    So today believe that, our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. You have choices: you can stop, you can re-direct or you can move in the direction that you feel led. Choose wisely friend your future may depend on it.

     

  • LIFE IS AN ECHO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Life Lessons

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    I saw a poster the other day that said, “Life is an echo, what you send out comes back. What you sow you reap. What you give you get. What you see in others exists in you. Do not judge so you will not be judged. Radiate and give love and love comes back to you.”

    That is an interesting, thought that life is an echo. I guess I never thought about it that way. It seems to me that most of the time, when I do something, I assume it dissipates and does not stay around to be recalled back to me over and over like an echo down a mountain path. A few times when I was growing up, due to the location, I was at a place where an echo could be heard. It’s an odd sensation to hear your voice resonate down the canyon. You remember as a kid, or even as an adult, when the opportunity presented itself that you called down the way to hear your voice echo back up to you… hello, hello, hello, those were the good old days

    But it seems now when we speak most of us assume our words go away into the air, never to be heard again. They seem to just dissipate or fall on deaf ears. We do good deeds and someone says thank you and then its over. There are very few times when we expect to reap what we sow – life’s disappointments seem to cloud out that option.

    We give to our church, our school, and our community and receive a nice thank you note or a tax write-off, but most of us do not expect anything big in return. I doubt many truly believe that the measure of what one gives they receive in return. And when it comes to the thought that what I see in others exists in me – I hope only the good is what exists in me and nothing else. And of course most of us grew up with the phrase about not judging others (although we all do it) so I’ll leave that one alone for today.

    About the only thing on the poster that I knew for certain was if you give love to family, friends, and others, you have a good chance of feeling a sense of love returned. The poster had an effect on me because it seems so true for today’s standards. And if everything I do is mirrored in some way that reflects who I am and what I do or what I believe in – Yikes, that’s an eye opener that I was not expecting.

    How about you? If your life is an echo what are you hearing? What are you sending out that comes back to you?

    I spend a lot of time on words: why they matter, how they have meaning and how we need to be careful about what we say. If life is an echo and comes back to us, it might hurt us to hear what we said. I used this quote awhile back but I love the thought, “…be sure you taste your words before you spit them out.” And on a gentler note: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” Friends, what are you sending out that is coming back that reflects you – the real you?

    I think it is interesting that so many people think they can say whatever they want because it’s their right or they have freedom of speech and they are entitled to their opinion. While all of that may be true, you well know the world doesn’t work that way anymore. If you say it, it will echo back or someone will echo back at you with your words.

    I see this in politics and business and the church – from our leaders and those who would like to be. For some reason they don’t think that what they say will be an echo back. They forget that it will be repeated and remembered and posted on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else. Why anyone would think that is beyond me. When we have so many ways to capture the spoken word and replay it, don’t be surprised when it gets ground into dust.

    Friends, we have a responsibility to guard what we send out because it will come back on us. It will reflect how others see us and, just like looking in a mirror, we should want our reflection to show our true heart, our true meaning our true desire. To better state it-our truth and not what others interpret our truth to be.

    If life is an echo, let’s think about what we sow in comparison to what we reap. I know that if you sow discord, you’ll reap heartache but if you sow kindness you will reap joy.

    Think about how this works in life. You and I know good-hearted people who have sown kindness in word and deed and now, at the end of their days, they are sought out and heralded for their wisdom and kindness. Now compare that to those who finagled the companies books to benefit themselves and a few of their crony’s before the organization fell. No one is reaching out to them unless it is through their lawyer.

    Do not think for one minute that you can sow lies, or hate, stealing or revenge without it coming back on you or your family. And let me remind you that if you have found yourself in this predicament friend, make it right while you can. There will come a time when you can’t and the world will be told about your sowing and reaping.

    This is the same idea as: “What you give you get.” What do you give to others? Are you generous with your time, your talent, or your money? I know that there is only so many hours in a day so giving away too much will not serve you well. But are you considering what you can give? Are you willing or are you holding back because frankly you just don’t want to? I fully understand that we can only give so much before the well runs dry, but please hear me. I believe you have a responsibility to refresh yourself and give back what you can because others might need what you can provide.

    My guest today is a member of SCORE (service corps of retired executives). These are men and women who give back because they have the time and talent.  I dare say, to a person, these folks gave of themselves while they sat in the executive chairs, so giving back now is just an extension of who they were then. If you don’t learn to give now it will not be a part of your internal compass later. You will struggle to find your way to receive the blessings of gratitude.

    For some of you today, this next phrase-what you see in others – exists in you- is a scary thought. Have you ever found yourself not really liking someone and yet you can’t put your finger on why until someone else says, “oh you’re just like so-and-so.” Then it hits you that you both have the same quirky qualities-yours aren’t that bad of course, but what a rude awakening. If what you see in others exists in you that should give you pause for reflection. If you don’t like what you see, only you can make that change for the better.

    I’m not going to spend time on “do not judge,” because frankly we all do it even though we say we don’t and we know deep in our hearts that we should not. I believe that if we saw everyone as our grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, uncle, aunt or friend, our world would be a very different place. In fact, if that were true we could put the human back into humanity and wouldn’t that be good for all of us?

    Finally, “radiate and give love and love comes back to you.” Now this is one we all know is true, but what are you going to do about it? Are you going to give of yourself for others? Are you going to empty yourself for other who you claim to love and care for respect and admire? I hope so because when that happens love really does comes back to you. Love in its purest form comes back to you and that is an echo I think we’d all love to hear.

    Life is an echo; all comes back the good, the bad, the false, and the true. So, give the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.

  • GO WHERE YOU’RE CELEBRATED – NOT TOLERATED

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Life Lessons, Radio

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    Recently I stepped down from a leadership position that I really enjoyed. I like to be called the Chairman but the reality is I do too much. Not to mention that I am not great at time management – so I had to make some changes to protect what little time I have to do the things that I am required to do. And in my case, the next in line for leadership was a great choice to step in and sail the ship.

    It’s never easy stepping away but there comes a time when you know you should. The question is do you listen to that little voice -or- heed the tug in your heart that the organization might be better off without you at the helm. Hard, I know…

    I am someone who likes challenging myself to see how well I do (within reason of course) and then once I see that I am up to the challenge it rarely holds my interest. I get bored easy and tend to wander off looking for something else to capture my attention. I’m pretty sure that I am like half the world in that way. The other half of the world will stay until they are asked to leave.

    As I work with others, I find it interesting just how full their lives are with things that are not required. I agree that it is good to give back and do your part when you are able, but I wonder if you arel hanging onto projects and organizations that no longer hold your heart and soul.

    Are you filling your time to keep busy so you don’t have to do the things you should be doing? You know, things like your taxes, polishing your shoes, cleaning out your car, attic, garage and tool shed. The answer is probably yes.

    We fill our lives with things that were, at one time, of great value. Why is it that we hold onto them until we are now just filling a seat? I think it is because many are afraid of being forgotten. Wow-forgotten. It hurts me to even say that. But I have been around long enough to know it when I see it.

    My friend Ann gave me some advice a long time ago that I have not forgotten. She said: “…go where you’re celebrated – not tolerated.”

    For many of us, the perception of obligations hold us long past the expiration date. And just like the milk label says, “Best if used by a certain date.” When that date is past, you might want to consider leaving.

    And let me give you a few reasons why.

    1. You’ve done your part – you’ve set a direction, cleaned up a mess, steadied the ship to sail to new harbors…good for you! Now go!
    2. Others need your seat at the table so they can learn and contribute. That will not happen if you’re sitting there until they pry your cold clammy hands off the table. Too bad you didn’t go…
    3. The organization needs new blood and new ideas from the new people who would like your seat at the table. So now it’s time to go.

    No matter how much they tell you they need you to stay, they really do want you to go. They don’t want to hurt your feelings, lose your financial support (that’s a ridiculous threat – really if you can’t stay you wont give – that’s generous of you), or more likely it upset your spouse because now you’ll be home more often. My friend jokingly tells her husband, “I married you for life not lunch and dinner.

    Stepping down is never easy; that old pride gets in the way and the thought of being dispensable hurts. It really hurts the pride, hurts the self esteem and ithurts your heart since it was something you once loved. And even if you do still love it, the time will come when it is necessary for you to move in a new direction. Friends, I hope in life you understand the concept of go where you’re celebrated – not tolerated.

    I’m not saying that tomorrow you cancel your membership in all your charitable or service organizations. This year why don’t you consider stepping away from a few of the places that you spend large amounts of time. Nothing makes a heart grow fonder than when you re-appear in a year or two. If you still have an interest after some time, then you can see the results of your years of hard work that built an organization to its prime.

    Now I know that my words are going to fall on plenty of deaf ears. Some of you listening today can’t imagine a world without you at the table and while I love your self esteem, it might be misguided my friend.

    It is always hard to know when to step away but let me give you a few ideas when you should.

    • I worked for year in the political realm and there is nothing worse than a politician who keeps the job but stops listening to their constituents. When they stop taking their concerns to heart, then it’s time to go.
    • In business, many want to keep the job because it makes them feel important but they no longer really contribute. If you are just holding a space, then it’s time to go. How about a coach who no longer is interested in learning new play or new ideas on training, focus and health – if that’s the case, it’s time to go.
    • Here’s the one I probably hear the most. Family members are resentful because of the perceived duty of a parent to an outside organization that trumps family and friends. If that’s the case, it’s time to go.

    Nothing is so sad as to see people hanging on to power that was lost long ago.

    I could go on and on about once great organizations that are now nothing or are  damaged permanently. Those organizations suffering because leadership would not let go and embrace the truth of “go where you’re celebrated – not tolerated.” The flame died and the people left and all that was good is now gone.

    How about you? Are you hanging on for one last gasp in hopes of being remembered or thought of kindly? If you overstay your welcome that is the last thing people will remember about you.

    Let me talk to you directly and move this to your personal life. Do your friends celebrate you or tolerate you? Does the person your dating or even married to celebrate you or tolerate you? Do your work colleagues celebrate you or tolerate you because they have to -at least for a time?

    It is hard to reconcile, but you know in your heart the answers to these questions.  So now the question is, “What will you do about it?

    I subscribe to the thought that if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, that is not going to happen no matter how hard you hope. This is why you and I should go where you’re celebrated – not tolerated.

    I looked up the word tolerate and here is what it says…

    • Endure something: to withstand the unpleasant effects of something

    Now compare that to celebrate which means:

    • Show happiness at something: to show happiness that something good or special has happened by doing such things as eating and drinking together or playing music

    Ah, friends, take some time to figure out who celebrates you, who shows happiness that you are you, because it is important that you Go where you’re celebrated – not tolerated for a lifetime.

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