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The New Business Professional

Embracing Silence

by Tiffany Crosby on 03/22/18

Lights, sounds, and action surround us 24/7. In the midst of this constant sensory buffet, the value of embracing silence has been lost. Silence has become uncomfortable; a void to be filled with something -- a text, a snapchat, a tweet -- something. And I can't help but wonder, what would happen if our devices suddenly stopped working. What would people do if they found themselves disconnected. Would they pick up a book? Talk to one another? 

Or would they embrace the opportunity to be alone with themselves? Would they take a quiet walk with just your thoughts, no music or podcast to occupy their minds? Would they spend some time looking up at the clouds or the stars in the sky?

As much as I'd like to believe they would. I know the answer for most is that they would not. Embracing silence is scary to most but it need not be that way. There is value in silence. Silence clarifies. Silence magnifies. Silence settles. Silence shifts priorities. Silence is a powerful force equally available to all. It doesn't discriminate. 

And yes, that includes the mother with three screaming children. They do have to sleep sometime, and the laundry can wait for 5 or 10 minutes as you enjoy a few moments of silence. And yes, that includes the busy executive whose schedule is packed with meetings. At some point in time you have to switch location (I hope) and you can take 5 or 10 minutes during the commute to enjoy a few moments of silence. The power of silence waits patiently to be unleashed in the lives of any and all who would dare to stop and take notice. Are you willing to give it a try?    

The Sacred Slow

by Tiffany Crosby on 03/04/18

I've just finished working through a book titled "The Sacred Slow" by Alicia Britt Chole. This book uses a series of 12 movements to challenge you to depart from the busy lane of fast faith to enjoy our relationship with God. Last month, I wrote about sacred rhythms. I had developed those as part of giving birth to my first book, "the Power of Rest". Now, I was relaunch Petra Learning, I have the opportunity to do so in a way that honors these sacred rhythms. I'm excited about the possibilities. I'm excited about having boundaries. I no longer look at boundaries as limiting but as empowering. Boundaries allow me to say yes to the things that matter. Boundaries allow me to maintain healthy margins. Boundaries help you to live out the abundant life God has handcrafted for you. Helping people find this life is why I became a life coach. It's why I mentor and teach. And so I write this post today to share with you my commitment to your health. I don't do this to try to score likes or to get wealthy. I do this because I want to see you SOAR. I want to see the GREATNESS that is in you fully manifested. 

Sacred Rhythms

by Tiffany Crosby on 02/10/18

The top priority of a Christian business leader is soul care. Leaders need to "be" before they can truly "do" what God has called them to do within the marketplace. From Petra's official beginning in 2011, God has been working on who I am even more than what Petra does. The time I spend conversing with God is what qualifies me to lead in the marketplace. It's not title, or education, or experience that qualifies me to lead. Those things may qualify me to perform particular services -- you don't want just anyone coaching you or designing and leading training courses. But leadership is not about any of the things we "do". It's about the influence we wield. 

 I've spent the last year nurturing my relationship with God. This wasn't about solidifying my identity in Christ, I know who I am and whose I am. This was about soaking in God's word and spending extravagant amounts of time in listening mode. This was about stepping away from the work of the business for a period of time to just be. It was a Sabbath year for me. And it has been incredible. 

My sacred rhythm has become more and more defined as I spent 2-3 hours daily in devotion, worship, prayer, listening, and reading time. Monthly immersions, quarterly conferences, and an annual retreat rounded out my sacred calendar. 

Now, as I delve back into the work of Petra until my next Sabbath year, the challenge for me will be to maintain this sacred calendar regardless of the business opportunities that materialize. I owe it to myself, my family, my community, and all those I serve and lead. And I would challenge you to the same.  If you don't have a sacred calendar, develop one. If you do have one, stick to it. It doesn't need to look like mine -- but you do need it.   

Under A Rest_Break Free To Success

by Tiffany Crosby on 04/08/17

When was the last time:
  • you ate a meal without checking the clock?
  • you spent a whole day enjoying a hobby?
  • you took a vacation and disconnected?
  • you had an unstructured, untimed conversation whose sole purpose was to get to know a person?
If you have to think a long time about those questions, it's been too long and it's hurting your performance. 

I'm not sure how or when but somehow in some way, the word rest has become a taboo word in our western society. We don't speak of it and certainly don't pursue it. Several years ago, I chose to break that pattern. I chose to adopt a lifestyle of rest and break the stereotypes associated with it. And here's what I learned; I am:
  • more productive in my vocation and in my home
  • more creative, more strategic, and a better problem-solver
  • more focused, less cluttered, and calmer
  • more stable financially and less tied to material things
  • a better wife, mother, sister, and friend
The journey to get here was difficult; not because of time or money commitment but because it required a new type of thinking and a breaking of bad habits. I had to adjust my definition of success. I had to let go of business associations and community leadership roles in order to simplify my life. 

It's a process I talk about in my book the Power of Rest, should you have more interest in the topic. But even if not, know that you have the ability to live life from a position of rest, if you're willing to pay the cost. 


A Simple Gut Check Can Save You Millions

by Tiffany Crosby on 10/02/16

We live in a world obsessed with information. We spend countless hours and dollars trying to turn information into useful data upon which we can make sound decisions. In that search for that perfect performance indicator or that magical measure or trend, we can forget to something as simple as a gut check. 

There really are two types of gut checks. 

Unconscious gut check

The first type of gut check is that immediate, visceral response where you just feel like there's something more. I call that the unconscious gut check. You can't necessarily explain it or immediately identify what it is but you just know is not what it seems. In slang terms, we'd say that it just doesn't smell right or sit right with me. I've learned to listen to this unconscious gut check as it has never steered me wrong. The few times I've proceeded despite a gut check, I've regretted it. My Hades Project, as I affectionately call it, arose because I ignored my gut. I persuaded myself because of the company name associated with it. I was still relatively new in business and it would look good on my portfolio listing. I convinced myself to move forward despite my misgivings. Though years have passed, I can still feel myself trying to break out in hives when I think about that project. 

The Conscious Gut Check

Then there's the intentional gut check when you pause for a few minutes to ask:

- This all looks good on the surface but if I pull a string or two does it still make sense?
- Am I too emotionally invested in this to be objective?
- Would I care if my decision was blasted over social media? 

This conscious gut check slows you down so that your critical thinking processes can kick into gear. It's a habit that you have to intentionally cultivate. You have to know yourself well enough to know when you're liking to make a quick, emotional decision and pre-determine that you're going to put the brakes on that decision. 

So how do you cultivate the gut-check habit? 

1) Listen to testimonies of those who have acted in haste. The saying "act in haste, repent in leisure" was coined because it reflects the dire consequences experienced by many who have moved ahead blindly, without stopping to count the cost. Businesses have gone bankrupt because of deals that were executed despite misgivings. Individuals have accept job positions in other states, uprooted their family, and separated from their community despite misgivings. They were attracted by the title and the promises. Only to then find themselves out of work or in a desperate ethical situation at this new company. 

2) Recognize sales tactics for what they are -- pressure to get you to buy (or act) without thinking. Whenever you feel pressured to make a decision so you don't miss that deal that is too good to be true -- stop. Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen if I don't move forward. Perhaps you decide the purchase makes sense after all -- then move forward and negotiate a deal. Maybe that job is a good position -- then move forward. But, if after thinking about it, you realize that it was the wrong choice -- think of the money or heartache you just saved.

3) Slow down. Just because we live in a twitter-obsessed society, doesn't mean that you have to live at that pace. Take time for prayer. Check out God's Word and see what it has to say. Ask for more information (data) if necessary. Seek out counsel and advice of respected leaders and mentors. Use the resources you have available to do your homework. 

Gut-checks are a gift. They're our friend. Embrace them. Understand their source. Whatever you do, don't discount them, they could save you millions.