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How to Achieve Peace

Do you experience peace on a regular basis? Or instead are you overwhelmed by what’s going on in your life? Does the busyness nullify your opportunity for any downtime, let alone peace of mind? Does the pace crowd out the peace? If you’re answer is “yes” to any or all of the above, be assured that you’re not alone.

For the longest time, I had no peace in my life. I was totally overwhelmed by life, trying to build a business, raise a family, coach our kids in their sports, stay in shape, do chores around the house, have a social life, etc. I prided myself in how much I got done, or thought I got done. What I wasn’t achieving was peace in my life. Likewise, I wasn’t experiencing joy, nor was I fulfilled in what I was doing.

Overtime, I’ve come to believe that there’s a distinct path to peace, which includes surrender, gratitude, humility, and love.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

Surrender
Acknowledging that I don’t truly have control over anything in my life, coupled with God loving me unconditionally, making me uniquely with special gifts, and wanting me to be fulfilled, I now surrender all to Him.

Doing so means trying to abide by God’s will (He knows best for me) and doing my best, while leaving the results to Him. Knowing His love for me negates my need for validation from others. He and I are in this together and He has my back.

Gratitude
Be thankful. More than that, believe that everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences in life. It’s true. Everything is part of God’s grand plan. So live in a place of gratitude; be grateful for everything that happens, even the crises in your life.

Gratitude isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the body too. Experts are constantly talking about the benefits to living a life of gratitude, including being happier, healthier, more optimistic, more spiritual, a better friend, a better boss, and many other good outcomes. A true attitude of gratitude is one that allows us to see the hand of God in all things and trust that everything will turn out for the best.

Humility
To me, humility is the opposite of ego, which is our false self, the identity that we create that is often very far from the truth of who we are. The truly humble person lives from the truth of who he is, strengths and weaknesses.

A humble person is genuinely happy for others in their successes. He is accepting of others’ ideas and thoughts (accepting doesn’t mean always agreeing), always very willing to engage in dialogue. The humble person doesn’t always have to be right, be in control, or even win. Humility allows us to accept others for who they are, rather than judging them or trying to change them.

Being humble is understanding that it is only in God working through us that we can perform or achieve anything worthwhile. It is His doing, not ours.

Photo by Orlando Allo

Love
Above all else, we are called to love. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, second only to loving God with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We need to love. When we fail to love, we leave those around us empty, and we are empty too.

Without relationships, life is meaningless. True relationship is impossible without love. To love, we need to be vulnerable; we need to trust; we need to care. Like Jesus, we need to love all.

Please share your comments, challenges, or concerns with me at [email protected]

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Three Signs of a Great Leader

Leadership, leadership, leadership…it’s all about leadership. It doesn’t matter the organization, whether it’s a company, Parish, family, university, a not for profit, a sports team at any level, or the government. To understand the success or failure of any organization, look to the leader.

I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of leading organizations for the last 30 years of my life (including my family). Although there are characteristics of behavior that we’re born with that lend themselves to leadership, I don’t believe in the concept of a “born leader”. Being a great leader takes study, experience, and maturity. A simple internet search will provide you with the characteristics of a good leader, a sampling of which follows:

  • You genuinely care about others’ success
  • You’re a good communicator
  • You know how to inspire
  • You have a clear leadership philosophy
  • You lead by example
  • You invest in people
  • You have a talent for spotting talent
  • You empower
  • You know how to give feedback that makes a difference
  • You take risks
  • You take accountability
  • You’re a strategic thinker
  • You’re good at conflict resolution
  • You can handle the big disasters
  • You create calm amid chaos
  • You inspire loyalty
  • You’re authentic
  • You celebrate wins
  • You remove barriers
  • You’re self-aware
  • I would agree that these 20 are all characteristics of a good leader, but I would suggest adding the following 3 for a leader to go from good to great:

    1. You love your teammates (different from #1 above)
    2. You are a champion of collaboration
    3. You view trust as critical

    Let’s look at each individually.

    Love Your Teammates

    It’s one thing to care for others’ success and another to be invested in those you work with professionally and personally. A favorite saying of mine is that “nobody cares what you know unless they know how much you care”. And caring for others isn’t just a matter of helping them be productive between the hours of 8AM and 5PM. Instead, the great leader invests in the whole person, helping him or her be the absolute best versions of themselves, regardless of whether they stay indefinitely or are likely to leave within months. It’s a love that’s irrespective of their role or tenure. It’s a love that’s expressed with action and verbalized.

    Champion of Collaboration

    Another favorite expression of mine is that “people don’t have to be agreed with, but they do need to be heard”. It’s true of all of us. Without contributing, without being heard, there’s no buy-in, no ownership of a new initiative.

    As a leader, I don’t view my responsibility as coming up with all the answers. In fact, I pride myself in rarely coming up with any of the answers, instead helping others develop the answers for themselves and their organizations. This approach corresponds to “loving your teammates”, from above, in that it’s the only way people are truly going to learn.

    Trust is Critical

    Trust is built on transparency and vulnerability, both of which needing to be exemplified by the leader. For an organization to thrive, it is imperative. Without it, there is dysfunction and disloyalty.

    If you’ve ever worked for an organization where there’s distrust, you know the negative impact it can have. In fact, it’s amazing, as I’ve experienced on more than one occasion, how the changing out of just one person, regardless of the level, can dramatically impact “trust” and therefore the performance and morale of the entire organization. Trust is critical and the leader sets the tone.

    Without question, the list of 20 from above is valid, but the good leader will become great only with a focus on love, collaboration, and trust. The fruit born out of these three characteristics will not only be a high performing team, but individuals who are fulfilled in their work and committed to their organization and its mission.

    As always, feel free to get back to me with questions, comments, or challenges at [email protected].

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Mark Joseph

    Categories
    Weekly Blog

    It’s Been Four Years!

    April 25th marks the Feast Day of St. Mark the Evangelist, my patron. It also marks the day, four years ago, that I began posting weekly…never missing a Wednesday since. As such, this is my 209th straight blog. Other posts, mostly on Fridays, have included notable quotes or short videos (vlogs), in addition to the occasional holiday or holy day message. Wow!!! I can’t believe it’s been four years. 

    I’d like to thank you for being on this journey with me. It’s been my pleasure to engage with you. It’s my sincere hope that you’ve been as blessed as me by our time together. I’ve learned a lot over these four years. That said, the message has never changed….knowing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ is foundational to who we are. And fundamental to living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

    Given the impact that the Lord has made on my life, my passion continues to be sharing the message with as many as possible. As such, I have a favor to ask. Assuming you like what you’ve experienced, can you help me share it with other?  

    Weekly Blog 

    This is what you’ve been receiving every Wednesday…primarily real-life issues related back to the faith…all free of charge. Please consider sending this (link) to a friend or two, helping them along the same journey you’re on.  

    Mark’s Book 

    Overwhelming Pursuit: Stop Chasing Your Life and Live (found in my store)…like my blogs, it’s all based on real-life experiences, where all my lessons were learned. It’s my deepest desire that you and your friends benefit from what our dear Lord taught me. It’s not about the money. 

    • If you want a book and can’t afford the $15.95, pay me what you can. 
    • If you can’t afford it at all but still want it, I’ll give it to you for free. 

    My passion is getting the message that God so blessed me with to as many as possible.  

    Speaking Opportunities

    As part of my ministry, I do keynote talks, Parish Missions, and seminars, most of which are done on the Parish level. I’d be grateful for you to connect me with your Pastor. You can see a sampling of the things I speak on my speaking page. Should you be interested, I’d suggest emailing me so that we can connect and discuss the opportunity.  

    All of my past blogs are archived on the website. There are free resources, i.e., eBook there, as well as my course and other useful items. 

    I know you know, but my primary message consists of the following at a high level: 

    • God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. 
    • In understanding and internalizing that love, the unimaginable is achievable. 
    • God made you for Greatness. 

    The problem is that nobody talks about these things. Let’s change that together. 

    As indicated, I’m blessed that you’ve accompanied my on this journey. I’ve asked for your help above. Likewise, if there’s anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

    As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

    Mark Joseph

    Categories
    Weekly Blog

    Why You Believe You’re Loved

    We grow up believing that we have to earn the love of others. The more or better we perform, the more love we perceive that we receive. How does this happen? Simple…you succeed at something, you receive all kinds of congratulations, pats on the back. You fail and you’re criticized. When intended to be constructive, it’s not always received that way. Sometimes the criticism is destructive, including no commentary at all. Many are familiar with the phrase, “the silence can be deafening”. It can be particularly hurtful to young people. It’s not done with malice or ill intent. It’s a human condition. 

    My first and most glaring example of this is my high school football experience. Growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s (City of Champions), my brothers and I loved football, such that I started playing organized football in 6th grade. Having played successive years, sometimes as a starter and sometimes not, I quit football my sophomore year. Something I regretted for a longtime, I was intimidated by a coach. Ironically, I found the weight room and getting bigger, stronger, and faster, my identity began to take on that of my physical stature. 

    I went back to football my junior year, followed by my senior season, where I didn’t start the first game. Noticed by a coach, I was moved from defensive back to defensive end, starting the rest of the season, for a team that won the championship for the second year in a row. 

    All the hard work had finally paid off. Not only did I achieve several personal successes, but I was part of a team that was treated like heroes, like gods. The accolades were many and often, whether from our coaches and teammates, parents, siblings, and extended family, friends, classmates, school administration, teachers, broader school community, or the media. We, the entire team, were praised by everyone, everywhere we turned. We were celebrated for our success, treated like heroes, like gods.  

    I tell you this story not to impress you. After all, it was a long time ago (literally 40 years ago), but to impress upon you how conditional love takes place. We grow up, given our experiences, believing that we have to earn the love of others. Feeling loved when we succeed, the experience is different when the opposite takes place. When we don’t perform well, we perceive that others don’t like our performance and aren’t accepting of us. We then internalize these things (positive and negative responses), with them driving much of what takes place in our lives, i.e., the hamster wheel. 

    Next week we’re going to discuss what conditional love leads to and the behaviors it creates, all contributing to us being overwhelmed. There is “light at the end of the tunnel”, but first we’re going to unpack the things that create the challenges that we all experience. Stay tuned. 

    Hope the above resonates with you…it does with most. As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    God made you for GREATNESS!!!

    Mark Joseph