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“Focus on What You Can CONTROL”

Just when you have everything planned, tasks delegated, and feel more than ready, human nature stops by, and something  goes wrong.  I had everything done in advance, under control, and felt my best ever.  Then pow, it happened, as it always does, because you cannot control everything, especially people.

In one of my first major career roles, I held the position of the Continuous Improvement Manager of a worldwide manufacturing company.  I created an idea program, where employees would submit a problem, along with a detailed solution, and we would then meet with engineers to implement.  The ideas could be about anything from product, to process improvements, as long as there was a cost savings, or return of investment.  It took off really well, and I ran it in four US factories at by the age of 26.  I felt like I was in control, as I essentially created my own job within huge company.

I knew what I was then capable of, and soon realized that I set high expectations for others too.  At times, I got let down and took it so hard.  My boss was very tough.  I had to adjust to the cultural differences regarding work ethics, and him setting the bar high, because I was his direct assistant prior to my promotion. He had tons of responsibility as the Quality Director of North America.  He was on top of everything, knowing projects to the finest details, and did everything he could to make sure his associates adhered to timelines, and deadlines. I admired him, and he shaped me into who I am today.

Shonjrell Ladner, Born to Kuddle, LLC

After seeing my frustration while planning a company event, he taught me that I can’t control things, especially to not set my expectations high for others.  I thought I was helping by doing so, but all it did was hurt in the end.  You see, he would push to get things done, but everyone has their own threshold, when it comes to performance, and drive.  Sometimes, they even had events, or personal things happening, that maybe I did not know about.

This lesson isn’t easy to learn, sometimes.  Where I struggle, is where my money is involved for a good or service, and not getting what I expected.  Also, I expect the best leadership and managerial support, if it is one’s  job title, regardless of how the person was placed in the position.  While you’re probably saying, yes, we should expect that…you have to remember, humans are not perfect.  I have to remember that too.  Things happen, and aside from that, just because someone has a job title, does not mean they are not human.

This week, I had to revisit this lesson over and over again.  I strategically, planned to have my wardrobe for my upcoming pageant competition, ready on time, so I could travel to Michigan for my Brother-in-laws wedding, and then from there go directly to West Virginia.  Boy was I in for a big surprise.  I went to pick up my gown, from alterations, and it wasn’t ready.  I also received a message from a designer, asking me about where I wanted my dresses cut, and I went in full panic mode!  It was Wednesday, I was supposed to leave Thursday, and they were not even finished yet.  I did not know what to do.

Usually, I have no issues, figuring out how to solve problems.  As said before, that was my job title, and that is what I did for a living. This time, I could not do anything.  Our gowns are registered, and I had everything planned down to jewelry and shoes regarding the other outfits.  So what do you do in this situation?  You focus on what you can control.

The wedding was today.  My husband, had to leave without me on Thursday morning.  My son was the ring bearer, and my husband was a groomsman.  I was supposed to read in the wedding, and I gained my first sister-in-law today.  I had to miss it, and I feel awful looking at the pictures.  I had to weigh what I could do, what I had to give up, and list the pros and cons.  It was not easy, with the heavy heart I have.  In situations like this, it is also good to talk to friends, who can look at the situation from the outside.  This is my one shot, representing my state, the organizations I am trying to help, and saving lives via this avenue.  I couldn’t let clothing stop me, or my personal feelings, because as I always say, it isn’t about me.

Faith.  Faith has been my best friend.  No matter what advice I receive, no matter what I had chosen to do, I had to believe I was making the right decision; no one can do that for you.  You are in control of yourself; it’s actually the one thing in the world you can control.  Just because it is a right decision, does not make it easy, or feel the best.

The first thing I had to control was my mind.  Wednesday, I was in such a down mood, that I felt I couldn’t even go to the hospital to cuddle the babies.  Then, I realized, me being sad, disappointed, even angry, was not going to change the outcome.  Staying home from doing what I love the most, wasn’t either.  It was out of my control.  I pulled myself together, and I went in to volunteer.  When I arrived, and saw why I was needed, and how I helped, it made me feel so much better.  I was the only volunteer cuddler working that night, and the babies need my love.

My gown finally was ready on Friday.  When I put it on, I smiled, and saw that it isn’t the end of the world.  I had two amazing friends, text me early in the morning, trying to find backup clothing to replace the dresses I didn’t have.  Talk about love.  I met these friends competing in pageantry.  It was like I had real life angels, just step in, and embrace me.  God puts people in your life for reasons.  You may not know why they are there, but one day, you will.

My angels, Tracy and Bethany

I practiced, packed my things, spent the day alone, and just thought about what I have.  There is so much to look forward to this year, regardless of next weekend’s outcome.  My idea, is being developed, with an internationally known company, and we are going to help so many babies.  We are going to provide jobs, and funding, for places I love, like “Susannah’s House!”  I am an ambassador for “Childhelp,” and speaking out to help children, and families in abusive and neglectful environments.  I have a family, I have my life, I have opportunities.  These were things I focused upon, to make an impact on the world, because I couldn’t control others donating funds, them caring, or even stopping drug abuse.  Still, I did not let what I can’t do, or don’t have, stop me from what I CAN DO.

When you are ready to give up, because of outside influences, just take a deep breath, and focus on what you can change!  Sometimes, you get thrown in the deep end of the pool, with a weight on your back, not to drown, but to prepare you for a stronger current.

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