Six Tips to the Dating Man

Get ya money right: If you’re dating then hopefully it’s someone you can see yourself with long term. If this is the case, you should really start preparing financially. Although I had an inkling about the importance about financial planning and stewardship, I didn’t understand how much it impacts every area of your life. You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income, however you should seriously seek financial guidance. Check out these resources: Dave Ramsey and DFree 

“You don’t have to have a certain dollar amount, or earn a certain income…”

Don’t be scurred: OMGoodness! If I had a dollar for every fearful brother I met,  I’d be rich! I talk to so many men who try to over-spiritualize their insecurity, anxiety, uneasiness, uncertainty and downright fear! A woman doesn’t expect you to be made of iron, she just wants you to be real. I know scurred single brothers and I know scurred “involved” brothers.  I know guys who will meet an incredible woman, know for certain they want to marry her, but postpone “putting a ring on it” simply because they’re afraid of commitment or they wrestle with the idea of not measuring up. Let me help you: YOU NEVER WILL! Move on and put a ring on it anyway. When start stalling because of your overly-amplified, idiosyncrasies and fears you make the relationship all about you. This, at its root is selfish, narcissistic and an inability to walk in faith. I’m not advocating rushing into anything, especially something as serious as marriage; equally I don’t advocate fearful living.  

Take the lead: You don’t have to wait on the heavens to open up and hear a James Earlish voice before you make faith steps. If you like a woman, tell her. If you want to date or court (depending on how you define the process) her then be upfront and be unafraid of possible rejection. There should not be any point in your relationship where your woman has to guess or assume your relationship status. You should have the courage to initiate important conversations, including defining the relationship. Your relationship should progressively move towards the future, even if you realize along the way it’s not with each other.


“Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength…”



Communication isn’t key, it’s the whole door: If you’re like most guys on the planet, this will probably be the hardest for you. Learning to talk about feelings and emotions isn’t an area in which most of us have proficiency. Believe it or not, being emotionally vulnerable takes tremendous strength, and communicates to your mate you’re willing to grow and you care. This also involves learning the art of listening.

Set boundaries: If you haven’t made a commitment for life, then you’re dating someone else’s wife. I don’t care how spiritual you are, how much you pray and how many accountability friends you have, all is forgotten when you’re turned on.  Nothing functions properly except one thing and it will get you into trouble. Despite what we have been taught by popular culture, media, and music, taking a test drive, having taste tests, using free samples and 30 day trial periods are not real measures of a relationship’s durability or long-term potential. All of these ideologies are MANufactured and don’t consider the very real and costly implications of diverting from God’s original intent for sexual intimacy. Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts. Ideally, in a dating relationship, the man sets the physical and emotional boundaries, not the woman. Not the woman. As a man you lay the foundation in the relationship. She’s looking to you to lead her well and trusts you with her heart and body. Don’t abuse her trust, its’ not worth it. When the purpose of something is unknown, abuse is inevitable. Know what God’s word says about his daughters.

 

“Condoms can cover body parts, but they cannot cover hearts.”



Get some help: I recommend every couple have another couple, preferably older and more experienced, as a support system. You can’t go somewhere you’ve never been without directions so ask for help. Take their advice. Don’t be afraid to allow trustworthy people to get all up in your business. That’s called good leadership and accountability.

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The Breakup: 10 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job

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There are few things worse than being stuck on a dead-end job you hate, and for far too many people this is exactly what they endure day after day. For many of us, the burden of working in a meaningless occupation, with an out of touch supervisor, and coworkers with whom we have superficial relationships is not enough to prompt us to leave. No, we have to be dropped from the nest and engulfed in flames on the way down before we get the picture. To avoid all of that, take a look at these signs to help you recognize when it’s time to quit.

10. You try hard to find reasons to stay: Chances are if you have a genuinely  good job you don’t look for reasons to stick around because leaving is the furthest thing from your mind.  However, if you constantly question why you’re still working there and try to convince yourself to stay, perhaps it’s time to go.

9.  You hate going to work: If you dread Monday mornings more than anything and days at the office make you depressed, you probably shouldn’t stay there much longer.

8. You frequently look for reasons to miss work:  Do you find yourself counting the days until the weekend or your next day off?  Do you like cashing in on sick days, vacation time, and personal days? Do you spend more time thinking about the reasons you should call in instead of focusing on work?

7. You avoid conversations about what you do: This is not for folks with top security clearances or G14 classified assignments. This is for the folks that really hate talking about what they do because it reminds them of the fact they work a depressing job. Some of their closest friends still may not know what they do for a living.
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6.  You complain, complain, complain: Sometimes a grumpy attitude isn’t indicative of a dreadful  job; sometimes we simply need an attitude adjustment. Other times, it’s a sign we don’t like what we do. Instead of being the coworker that sucks everyone else into their vacuum of despair, change your situation and leave.

5. You emotionally detach from your work: People who detach aren’t emotionally touched by anything. No success, failure, setback, or incredible victory. If you find yourself simply going through the motions then it’s time to make a motion towards the exit sign. Save yourself some heartache and get out while you can.

4. You don’t have any opportunities for growth:  Does your current position offer any opportunities for professional development? How far can you advance in your company? Does your environment encourage you to learn new things that will help you improve the organization? If your company doesn’t have room for growth, invest in your education, or professional development that’s a huge red flag. Anything that isn’t growing is dead.

3. You are not challenged or utilizing your gifts: Can you do your job with your eyes closed and both hands tied behind your back? When was the last time you worked on a project that allowed you to employ your gifts, talents, and areas of passion?

2. You are hanging on for the paycheck:  You know something is wrong when the best thing about your job is the 1st and the 15th . Sometimes we can be slaves to money while still being broke. Harriet Tubman said, “I freed thousands of slaves and I would’ve freed thousands more if I could’ve only convince them they were slaves.” We can get so caught in the grind that we become oblivious to the fact that Franklin and Jackson have more control over us than we’d like. Just because you don’t know you’re a slave doesn’t make you any more free.

1. Your health starts to decline: I once worked with a guy that would get nauseous, depressed, and would experience high levels of anxiety every time he came to work.  He was so stressed by the job he was hospitalized. Life is stressful enough. You don’t have to add to it by torturing yourself with a job you hate! It’s simply not worth it.

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Norman Cousins once said, “The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” If you’re dying inside because you’re stuck on a job it may be time to develop an exit strategy. Do you know what you want? Do you know what drives you and makes you happy? Do you know what you’re passionate about? Faith is taking the first step without seeing the entire staircase. Now may be a good time to leap out of the safety of what’s familiar and into the glorious opportunities of the unknown. In the words of George Eliot, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Will you prepare for flight or wait to fall from the nest?

A Soldier’s Story: An Interview with Army Specialist Jorel Covin on Family, Finances and Service

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Like many of today’s veteran’s, Army Specialist and aspiring entrepreneur Jorel Covin saw the military as an opportunity and route of escape from inner city pressures and a pursuit for a better life. Similar to many of today’s youth, Covin was raised without his biological father, bullied and wanted to earn quick money. Within six days after graduating from high school he arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island welcomed by an impeccably groomed drill instructor shouting the infamous phrase, “Get on my yellow footprints!” This was the beginning of a military career that yielded many great experiences; however when faced with establishing a better life for his family this father quickly realized some assignments came without orders.

MTS: Tell me a little about yourself.

SC: I’m a Specialist in the Army Reserves and my wife of ten years is Active Duty Army. We have three beautiful children: thirteen, nine and seven.

MTS: Why the military?

SC: I mainly wanted to get rich quick. I wanted the clothes, new car, high credit limits, girls and everything else that would make me look and feel like a baller. I was also bullied as a kid and wanted to prove something to myself and my bullies. I wanted to leave my small town and see the world. I thought it was an easy ride to pay for school and travel.

MTS: Tell me about life prior to the military.

SC: My mother worked very hard to support my brother, sister and I. Although she divorced my dad when I was about 5 years old, I was well taken care of. I had good grades in high school, but didn’t reach my full potential because I wanted to be cool and hang out. My hometown is small and I just wanted to get away. I didn’t have a clear plan or vision. I saw the military as a free ride to simply get away and experience something different.

MTS: Tell me about your military career.

SC: I did two years in the Corps, one year in the guard, and currently serving in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve).

MTS: What were some of the most important lessons you learned in the Corps?

SCWell, the military is black or white; either you like it or you don’t. I learned a lot of important things, especially resilience and a “suck it up and drive on” kind of mentality. The military taught me how to roll with the punches and get the job done. This helped me because when things didn’t go my way after I got out, I had to learn to be flexible and roll with it. I learned some things in the military, but I also had a great mom that taught me. The military is partly responsible for this, but my mama had already instilled values in me.

MTS: What was the adjustment like after being released from your initial term with the Marines?

SC: It was kind of tough. As I said when I enlisted I didn’t have goals, a plan or anything and that didn’t change for me. It was tough trying to find a job because I was competing with other veterans that had more qualifications and higher rank than me. I went back to the same neighborhood, saw some of the same people and worked the same job I had before I left. It was at a country club.  I didn’t really know how to manage my money so I didn’t have anything and had to start over. It was really tough.

MTS: What were your expectations about life during and after the military?

SC: Well, I thought I was going to have a lot of money for college, have a job after getting out, but realized that wasn’t the case. Although the military teaches you a lot of skills; the military is not going to hold your hand. You have to take the initiative to ask questions, find out about programs that help you and learn how to grow up so you can survive in the civilian world. The success of the soldier falls on the service member. I didn’t start with a plan so I got nowhere. I needed help and I had to adapt and overcome.

MTS: Would you say the military prepared you for life after duty?

SC: Well, like I said you have to take initiative. In some ways it did and in others it didn’t, but my success isn’t the military’s responsibility. It’s mine, so I had to make some choices in my life. I’ve made some mistakes and some good decisions, but I’ve grown and learned.

MTS: What are some of the other things you have learned?

SC: The military’s pay isn’t enough for my family and I. With higher rank comes higher pay.  For a single person it’s cool, but I have a family. I have to work another job. The truth is you don’t join the military to get rich. If you think you will; you’re going to have a rude awakening. I mean it’s good security because you know how much you’re getting paid and when you’re getting paid. You have good health benefits and insurance. That’s something we all need and we have it as service members.

MTS: What are some of your future aspirations?

SC: I want to help the youth and other veterans have hope and let them know about the resources that are out there. Just because I’ve made some mistakes doesn’t mean they have to; I want to help them in life. I also want to start a Christian promotions company to spread some positive messages in the world. My wife wants to start a women’s shelter to help them [women] deal with the real struggles they go through. I’m also leaning towards becoming a teacher by taking advantage of the Troops to Teachers program.

MTS: From the things you’ve told me it sounds like there are a couple of themes resurfacing. Some of them are: taking personal responsibility, the importance of planning and power of making quality decisions. Does this sound about right?

SC: Yes, that’s about right. People have to understand just because you join the military doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan and work on your future. I mean it’s not for everyone because only about one percent of the US population serve.  If you’re young and considering the military then ship off tomorrow! Learn to plan and use the benefits you will get like the networking skills, world travel and interactions with different types of people. Be smart and use it to your advantage.

MTS: What advice would you give someone on being successful?

SCWhen you can’t see the finish line, just work the path you’re on. Don’t be afraid to leave home because it will be right here when you get back. Have a relationship with God and keep Him first. Keep your record clean because you will need to have a good reputation. It will open up doors for you later. Know that it’s never too late. My wife was twenty-seven and a high school drop out with three kids when she changed her life. She got a GED while I was deployed, took the ASVAB three times, took remedial classes and loaded 15 college hours in a single semester at one point just to enlist. All of this while raising a family. If she can do it, then you can as well. We got to a point where we got sick and tired of living under. We got tired of depending on the system for assistance and realized it was keeping us under. It was just enough to make it, but not enough to be satisfied; we got tired of that. I was a grown man and wanted to take personal responsibility. At first it was hard but we made a covenant between each other and God and moved in faith. My leadership built up my wife’s leadership and now I am a support for her as she prepares to deploy for her first tour in Afghanistan. Just don’t give up and work what’s in front of you. You’re not ready to reach two thousand if you can’t reach two.

Jorel’s story is similar to that of many veterans. While there are many benefits that derive from service, there are some inescapable life lessons crucial in your success. The military can accelerate, and even amplify some of these lessons, but it doesn’t replace them. Jorel and his wife are an incredible example of the power of planning, taking personal responsibility and persistence. I encourage you in whatever your life’s course to learn from these lessons and be a proactive agent in your success! For more info on veteran programs and assistance, please contact your local Veterans Affairs Office.