You are the next Abraham Lincoln . “Why are you quitting?

Abraham Lincoln never quits.

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times – but he didn't and because he didn't quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the United States history.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln's road to the White House:

1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 His mother died.
1831 Failed in business.
1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn't get in.
1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off
this debt.
1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party's national convention – get less than 100 votes.
1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860 Elected president of the United States.

Bathroom Drama Guest author Carol Farnsworth

I know that I am not the only blind person that run into funny situations dealing with the visual world. Would you like to share your story? Restroom Drama

This is one of the most difficult and funniest places that a blind person can experience. If you want a small taste of what many visually impaired people experience, close your eyes next time you go into a large bathroom. Can you tell where the stalls are located? How about the sinks? Will you be able to find the soap, towels and then find you way out? Let me talk about some of my experiences.

When I enter a large restroom by myself, I usually stop and listen for flushing sounds to locate stalls. This stopping gives people time to evaluate the situation and decide if they want to help. Sometimes I appreciate it and sometimes I don’t.

One time I was in a restroom at the airport. I couldn’t locate the stalls because of people talking. That time I asked the room if someone would direct me to a stall. A very kind woman showed me to a stall and pointed out the toilet paper dispenser, the flush lever and the lock. I thanked her and used the commode. When I opened the stall an airport employee was waiting there to help me locate the sink, soap and towels. She informed me that the woman that had helped was called for her flight and wanted to be sure that I could get out and continue my travels.

I also have been given help when I didn’t need it. This happened on the Natchez Trace in a public restroom. I was going in to change into biking clothes. The room was empty and quiet. I started to travel the wall looking for a stall. A woman entered and without talking pushed me into the first available stall. The lock was broken, and the toilet continued to flush every minute. I was trying to change while holding the door closed. To make matters worse this woman was pushing against the door and asking if I was all right. With all the noise, I dropped my wallet and didn’t hear it hit the floor and lost my wallet. I called the rest stop and was told it was given to the guard minus the money, it was not worth going back a hundred miles, I just asked them to destroy it.

In some states a person of the opposite gender can go into a restroom to assist. This makes my husband very uncomfortable. He will look first for family restrooms that are not gender specific. If he can’t locate one, he will take me into a men’s restroom, if not crowded. I use to be leery of this until I lost all sight. Now I just hurry into a stall and get out as quickly as possible.

I heard a story from one of my blind conference friends that he looks for a handicapped stall in large public restrooms because they have the sink and junk container in the stall. He said that he has gone over to wash his hands. Only to discover that he was washing in the urinal!

In this time of corona virus, people may not be comfortable approaching a person in a restroom. I pull out a small bottle of hand sanitizer while orienting to the space. When I leave the stall, I again use the hand sanitizer while listening for the sink area or the exit.

If you notice a person using a white cane in a restroom, ask if they need assistance and listen to what they may or may not require. Both you and the visually impaired will feel good about the experience. I can't forget my Kasandra episode!

How to use the STAR method in your next interview ::

Job interview questions like “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” are the stuff of legend – and luckily a thing of the past for pretty much everyone.

Most organisations have realised that ‘brain teaser’ questions like this are completely useless for assessing candidates, and instead try to use ‘structured’ interview questions – these are questions that allow them to assess an interviewee’s prior experience or capabilities, and then compare that easily with other candidates.

So in your next job interview, what’s the best way to approach these questions that ask you to reflect on your past experience? Here’s one simple but powerful technique.

Using the STAR method for behavioural interview questions
The STAR method is a great technique for answering ‘behavioural’ questions that are now standard in job interviews. Behavioural questions are based on the idea that past behaviour can determine how you’d react when faced with a similar situation again.

They can be easy to spot as they usually start with:

“Tell me about a time when…”
“Can you share an example of…”
“Have you ever…”
Your answers to these types of questions should aim to showcase your skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

How does the STAR method work?
The STAR method provides a simple framework for providing a detailed and easy-to-understand example to your interviewers. STAR stands for:

Situation: Set the scene of the dilemma or problem you faced, including relevant context;
Task: Explain your role and responsibilities in this scenario;
Action: The steps you used to approach the task; and
Result: The outcome of your actions and what they achieved.
By using this method, you’re demonstrating that you understand the question, that you’re able to reflect on your past experience, and ultimately how you might be able to apply your skills to similar challenges if you’re successful in winning the role.

Your answers to behavioural interview questions may also speak to your:

Sense of judgement – e.g. making difficult decisions under complex circumstances;
Performance under pressure – e.g. how you conduct yourself in high-pressure situations;
Leadership potential – e.g. your initiative and ability to step up when you have little or no direction; and
Self-awareness – e.g. how you perceive your strengths and weaknesses.
A step-by-step guide to using the STAR method
With good preparation and a bit of research, you can use the STAR method to nail any behavioural interview questions you encounter.

1. Anticipate behavioural questions – Go through the job ad or position description and identify key skills and experience required for the role. The key selection criteria are the best place to look for these.

For example, if a key selection criteria for the role is “An ability to work to tight deadlines”, then it’s highly likely your interviewer might ask you a question like “Tell me about a time when you needed to work to a tight deadline, and you were successful”.

2. Think of situations that speak to these requirements – Reflect on all the times you can remember that demonstrate each of the skills and experience in the Key Selection Criteria, and choose the top ones that show your experience in the best light. (You might want to skip that example where you almost made the deadline, but didn’t quite get there!)

3. Plan your responses using the STAR method – Carefully consider how you would convey the details of each example using the STAR method.

4. Come up with multiple examples – Be ready to reel off more than one example for each skill or experience to avoid repeating the same one. If you’re asked two different questions, it’s best to have two separate examples rather than reusing the same example, even if it’s relevant to the second question. Preparing more examples also means you’re less likely to be caught off guard in the face of a potentially unforeseen question.

5. Practise your responses – Go through your prepared examples out loud, either in front of a mirror, to a friend or family member, or recording into your phone camera. Practice will help you shake off those pre-interview jitters!

Some example STAR answers
Initially, answering lots of questions using the STAR method may feel overwhelming. But with some practice, it’ll flow naturally in no time.

Here are two examples that might be helpful in getting started with this method. They’ve obviously been condensed for space, but they should clarify how to use the STAR method for real life questions you might be asked in your next interview.

Example 1: ‘Tell me about a time when you received constructive feedback’
Situation: Provide an overview of or background to the situation you were in, in a couple of sentences.
Eg: “I was planning an event, and as part of the role, I was responsible for stakeholder management.’

Task: Explain how you and your responsibilities were relevant in the scenario. Remember that it’s OK to talk about mistakes – as long as you’re able to reflect on what you learned or should have done.
Eg: ‘I emailed the client all the details in advance of the event. After the event they told me that that hadn’t realised that things would happen the way they did. I obviously hadn’t communicated clearly enough to the client – perhaps I should have run through the plan with them over the phone too.’

Action: Demonstrate what you did you address and resolve the situation. What was the most important thing you did to receive the feedback?
Eg: “I apologised to the client and accepted that the email wasn’t clear enough – I knew the most important thing was to avoid getting defensive. I made a commitment that for upcoming events, they’d receive a more detailed plan and they were reassured by that.’

Result: Describe the outcome – including what you learned.
Eg: “We implemented this new process for the next event. The client was thrilled with second event and appreciated me taking on their feedback. I learned to always double check what the client needs to know before an event runs.’

Example 2: ‘Share an example of a time you had to manage multiple competing priorities’
Situation: Explain the scenario. Why was it difficult or complex to manage?
Eg: ‘During my time at [Example Organisation], we were working on a big project with a lot of moving parts.’

Task: Give an overview of your responsibilities and how they played a part in the situation.
Eg: ‘A colleague was taken off the project, so extra responsibilities fell to me. We were working to a tight deadline, so I needed to manage the project and make sure that all the tasks were done on time.’

Action: Break down the steps and tactics you used to manage your time, responsibilities and priorities. Take time to highlight the most important actions you took.
Eg: ‘I mapped out all the project’s deliverables with a Gantt chart, with steps and key milestones. I then communicated the plan to my manager, and delegated parts of the work to my colleagues, making sure they understood the scope and the deadlines.’

Result: Share the outcome. How did your actions and critical thinking make a positive impact?
Eg: “Thanks to my collaborative approach, we were able to launch the new project ahead of time – which was a first for the organisation.’

The journey from jobseeker to team member isn’t always easy. Once you’ve overcome any common resume mistakes and secured yourself an interview, the STAR method can hopefully help set you up to score your dream ethical job!

How the donkey picked up its pieces!

Someone recently sent me an amusing story about a farmer and his donkey. It seems that one day a farmer’s donkey fell down into an old dry well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off.

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up, one step at a time. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up. Shake it off and take a step up.

Sometimes God has to knock us down to make us look up. this is comparable to a long distance race. Those who compete in a natural race have to be able to endure until the end.

Whats is in your cup?

I love this analogy:

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

"Because someone bumped into me!!!"

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It's easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

*So we have to ask ourselves... “what's in my cup?"*

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Today let's work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

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