You Can Make a Difference!

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right”. — Confucius

I was touched recently after having a read a story about a very special person who in his way made a huge difference in the world around him! Not only had he made a difference in the many lives that he as come in contact with, but he has also made a big difference at his work place, had increased fidelity in the store and brought about a total change in the workplace environment!  Allow me to introduce to you Johnny the bagger boy who made a huge difference despite the fact that he was possibly the least likely candidate to think it possible, why?  Because Johnny has downs syndrome!

The story in short is that one day a seminar was held at a grocery store for all the employees to cover the importance of customer service and doing things in order to make their shopping experience unforgettable.  Johnny was also invited as he too was employed at this supermarket, but after the seminar was over, he couldn’t see how a person as simple as himself could do anything to make a difference, for two reasons, he knew that he was “special” and after all,  he  was “only” a bagger boy.

He came up with an idea, he wanted to inspire his clients with a “thought of the day” which he took the time to print out and cut to fit into the bags of his customers to read once they got home.  It got to be so inspiring for his customers that they would purposely wait in his line to be able to get their little thought for that day. Some folks would just stop in and get something when they were in the neighborhood just to get his little token. Johnny made a huge difference!  If you would like to get the real story the original can be found at http://www.barbaraglanz.com

There are so many ways that each one of us can make a difference in our situations, even by doing the most simple things that might seem insignificant!  We live in such a diversified world and are exposed to so much negativity that, even when you attempt to do things that might make a difference, you can be easily scared off by the doubters that will put you down and try to discourage you!  Don’t let them!  If they want to continue to walk on in the dark, so be it, but take the path that leads towards the light!  The flame of a tiny candle can light up a large room!

After reading this inspiring story I was sadden to see that, sure enough, there are those who doubt its veracity. Others for the most part were inspired by the account they read and touched by this wonderful simple being.  Johnny is special in so many ways, he did bring about a huge difference and so can you!  Don’t allow others to put out your candle, let it burn bright, change your part of the world!  This is the only way that we can then change the world!

How might you change the world around you?

Rising Above!

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”–Lee Iacocca

We are so full of a myriad of things to tend to that if you were to sit down and think about it you would truly go bazerk! And sometimes that is exactly what many of us do, we dwell on all that there is to do and we go tilt!  Some of us handle pressure better than others, yet others get stressed out even before the real pressure actually is upon them at all.  They are defeated before the enemy shows up on the battlefield having filled their mind with all the things that could go wrong.

Our minds are like battle fields, there is always positive and negative struggling to take center stage.  While it is best to think rationally and take into consideration the posiblity of setbacks, problems that could occur for something that you have planned, it’s best to not allow it to take over your entire mindset. That is a big mistake many of us make. You are setting yourself up for a big fall, either that or a mental breakdown.

You’ve heard the expression “mind over matter” and how if you use your mind with the “it can be done” attitude, practically anything can be done! I have found this to be true through personal experience.  I shared previously how while preparing for an event I too am filled with all of the possible things that could go wrong and end up suffering so many things through worry that in the end never happen, and things end up going just fine.  Of course, there will always be room for improvement, but if you get all tied in knots about what was not “just perfect”, you are not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by doing so.  If anything doesn’t go totally according to plan, write it down and do it better the next time around. That is what life is all about, a continual opportunity to learn.

On the other hand, allowing yourself to get frazzled like the guy in the illustration not only will cause you great illness, it can become potentially dangerous for those around you!  When you get all uptight, those around you tend to get affected by your attitude or state of mind.  This makes a potentially small problem to grow even bigger.  When I can’t quite figure something out, and things are getting a bit hectic, I usually take a moment to stop and meditate and breath deeply to get a clear mind on what might be the next step.  When you are in a fog and you can’t see that far ahead, the best thing to do is to pull over and wait for the fog to lift before heading on your way.

How do you handle stressful situations?  Do you rise above or do you get snowed under?

Steve Jobs–Never Took No For An Answer!

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” –Steve Jobs

I dedicate today’s post to a man who was not only a visionary, a pioneer, an inspiration, an example on many fronts but who has also shown us how to gracefully pass on to his new life!  Steve Jobs not only spearheaded the creation of the iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone he was one that embodied the iBelieve! This should serve as a tremendous example to all who wish to move forward in life, believe tremendously in what you do and go for it against all odds.

Steve exuded enthusiasm in what he did that inspired thousands to help him create what he envisioned and millions to then buy it once it hit the market! He created a culture, loved by millions and hated by many who saw his advancement as a threat to their own market share.  No one can deny his success, his legacy lives on in the purse, pocket, office, or home to remember him by!

Having once been fired from his own company, Steve went on to pioneer with others yet another successful company, Pixar which once again showed that the word ‘no’ was not included in the dictionary, at least not in his! After his return to Apple, he turned a then struggling company into a mega corporation and won the love and respect of all those who worked for him.  His workers were willing to work days, nights, weekends, holidays in order to get a product just right for launch!  Steve was a born leader, he was going somewhere and in order to follow him everyone had to up their stride, because he not only going there, he was going in a hurry!

But Steve was not born into all of this in the most natural of ways, he was adopted, no doubt by very loving and caring parents, who gave him  opportunities and supported him along the way.  He could however had taken the road of excuses and decided that for him “it just wasn’t meant to be”, but instead against all adversity, having started in a little garage in Silicon Valley, he took flight!  Take notice of this, learn from his example because if you are able to glean just a bit of this inspiration you too could make your mark!

I did not meet Steve here on this planet, I missed that possibility, but I do know the inspiration that he was bathed in!  Pipe into this power, it is believing in what is not seen, it is going for it!  I salute you Steve and thank you for being the inspiration that you were here on earth, you live on!

Finding a Balance

“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them”. —Thomas Kinkade

There really should be more hours in a day!  I heard someone say, perhaps you have heard it as well that, “life is like a suitcase, some people are able to pack more into it” and I find this to so true!  There is and always will be so much that we need to get done that truly it would be cool if we were able to have a little extension permit to the day!  But the fact of the matter is, there is more to life than “getting all those things done” that is just as important and in fact will help us to be even more productive.

I heard it shared like this: Eat right, exercise right, work right, play right, love right, this is the formula for success.  And this is so true!  There are a few things that we absolutely cannot go without and they are eating and sleeping.  If you try to do away with those two activities you will be good for nothing else.  And even those activities need to be done right in order to maintain a balance in your life.  You do also need some “off time” to just let your hair down and relax and have some play time, all work and no play makes a very dull person in general.  And love right, yes inter-personal relations is all important, time to love and share moments together with others brings richness to your life and that of those around you!

Let’s break this down:

Eat right: Stop and take the time to eat a good balanced meal at the proper times during the day!  This does wonders to give you energy, try to avoid over eating in the middle of the day as this will cause you to lose concentration and will lessen your productivity during your working hours!

Exercise right: A few stretches everyday to get your body ready for the day, and take at least 3 days out of the week to have a real thorough work out in order to stay fit and healthy!  I just started up at a gym recently and have been amazed at how much more energy I have.

Work right: Did you know that the day actually starts the night before?  That’s right!  Plan your next day out so that you can make the best of it!  Make your schedule the night before and stick to it as much as is possible.  There are times that you will have an emergency to tend to, or things will not work out just as you planned but you can always work around that.  This will help reduce stress, raise productivity and make you feel good about yourself!

Play right: Yep, play is important, don’t take life too seriously, get some “off time” with your spouse, children or friends and do something fun together.  Get your mind off of your work for a bit so that once you have to get back to work, you will be refreshed, re-envisioned and renewed!  The person that you spend time with needs it too, and relationship will also be strengthened!

Love right: Yes, love plays a very important role as well.  Time with your family, and in particular your spouse! This can be simply enjoying a relaxed moment to share your heart together or a time to have a good love up time and some good sex (if available)!  Yes I did say sex and I think that now I will get 1000 hits more a day on my site! But having good sex is not only enjoyable, it is a necessity in life and God-given gift.  It certainly helps to reduce stress, so make sure you include this as well.

This is a pretty simple list, and to include all of this in your life will help you to bring a better balance and perspective to your life.  There is always a balance even in these different activities, too much of anything can be harmful, we are all different and our personal needs are also different so you will have to decide how much of what is best suited for you!

Do you have a balanced lifestyle?  From 1-10 how would you rate your ability to fill your “suitcase”?

Just Get Started!

“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.” –Alberto Salazar (American Sprinter 1958)

The most difficult moment in beginning any new and great adventure is before you even start out! I have found this to be the case in almost every single adventure that I have embarked on, the biggest and greatest mental battle was before I ever got started.  Even when there are jobs that are up and coming, events that I need to be involved in and plan, the days leading up to the event I have this tremendous mental anguish or fear that things will not go well!

This is the very reason why we tend not to do many great things in life, inside our mind we are so capable of talking ourselves out of something before ever starting.  Now there is of course a need to evaluate things before jumping straight in, especially if you are going to make a financial decision, or invest in a new business, that is only common sense, however many great opportunities are lost due to fear of what could happen.

Mark Twain made a statement that brings this out which I have often quoted he said, °I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened°. Fear of the things that might happen limits our ever getting started.  As I shared in a previous post, fear of failure is what holds many of us back from getting started in the first place.

I have found out through my personal experience that, yes sometimes things will not turn out just the way that we had planned them, as time goes on they can tend take on a life or shape of their own.  Many times the end results are even better than what we initially had planned or had set out to do.  However, had I not ever gotten started on the project, I would have never  seen the wonderful results that came from it in the end!  So sometimes, you just have to step out by faith and get the ball rolling!  If the ball then takes an unexpected bounce, well check out where it is headed and keep on heading forward, you may just end up accomplishing something even more extraordinary! But if instead you never even get started, you won’t accomplish anything!

Don’t let your mind talk you out of something for fear that it might not work out!  Over half the battle is won if you can just get started! Do you have a hard trying new things or get the “before the battle blues” before embarking on something new?  Sometimes, things might not work out, but you will have never known had you not at least tried!

The Compliment of Criticism

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing” –Aristotle

Criticism is truly hard to take no matter how it is given.  There are however different types of criticism, constructive criticism that is meant to help you do your job better, usually administered by someone who would like to see you succeed in your work, and criticism given by a born critic.  Some people are plagued with a negative mindset and pretty much anything and everything will fail on the scale of their opinion.  They tend to thrive on negative thoughts, and if there is nothing bad going on, they are sure to invent it!

It is easy to grow defensive of our own work, after all you have spent a good amount of your personal blood, sweat and tears laboring away to accomplish something and then someone comes along and tears it all down with a comment.  The fact of the matter is, there is no way on earth you will ever be able to satisfy everyone, you can try hard at it, but if that is what you are attempting to do, prepare for great disappointment!  The best attitude to have when working on anything is to be ready and accept the fact from the beginning that you will be met with criticism.

The good news is, being criticized means that you are doing something!  Only those who do not do anything, never try anything, are too afraid to make any move are the only ones that never receive any criticism! So if you are being criticized, this could be a wonderful compliment, it means that you are going somewhere.  Criticizing can be due to many things, perhaps others are jealous of you and what you are able to accomplish, so in order to elevate themselves they will attempt to put you down.  They might just be chronic criticizers who have little or nothing else to do and therefore they have taken on this activity as their “profession”.  And yes there is the true friend who really would like to see you succeed and so he offers you a sincere criticism in order to help you to perfect what you are doing.

Leaders are usually subjected to a lot of criticism.  They are often in their position because of the fact that they are good leaders, but good or bad as they may be, because they are going places and doing things, they are the target of a lot of criticism!  You cannot desire leadership if you are afraid of being criticized, spoken bad about or eventually even hated by others.  This unfortunately comes with the job of a leader.  But a good leader will be open to this fact, be able to wade through the criticism, pick out what might be relevant and learn from it without being offended. If you are affected by criticism, do not seek out a leadership position!

I really do not look forward to election time, as despite the fact that debate is necessary in order to arrive to the solution in any matter, during the campaign stage there is so much senseless mudslinging on both sides of the aisle.  What those who tend to sling mud don’t take into consideration is:”he who throws dirt loses ground!” Most of the criticism is not constructive, if it were it would not just accentuate the obvious problem but rather clearly offer a solution.

So if you are a victim of criticism, cheer up, you may be doing something.  Just don’t let it get you down and to stop moving at all! Look at the criticism and try to evaluate whether it holds any possible point in truth and make any modifications that you deem necessary. We are all subject to the gossip of others, unfortunately that comes with life, just don’t let it be what influences your every decision!

How do you take criticism? Do you use it to make you better or allow it to  weaken you through feelings of failure?

Appreciation–An All Too Neglected Practice

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. — Margaret Cousins

There are so many things in life that we simply take for granted, particularly the people that we live with, work with, and encounter in the course of the day.  It is so common to grow used to things being the way they are that we don’t pause long enough during the day to take notice of them let alone to express our appreciation for them through words or acts of appreciation.

It is interesting that this might be so since we all know how wonderful it is when someone takes notice of something that we took the time to attend to at work, or a special something we do for our spouse, or family member.  Not that this is why we do things for others in the first place, but when anyone sits up and takes notice of us, and expresses their appreciation to us, it makes us want to go out of our way to do even more things for them.

Knowing how appreciation helps to spur us on to do better, it is a wonder why we don’t show our appreciation more generously to those who we live and work with.  Of course if you have been raised in an environment where little or no appreciation has been given for what you have done, then it can seem normal to you to treat others the very same way that you have been treated. In the Bible it says to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you“, but this often is miss quoted or miss applied as “do unto others as they have done unto you“.

Have you ever worked really hard to accomplish something at work or at home that you felt real satisfied with and that brought about real progress or improvement, but then it only gets a passing glance?  No appreciation for all the hard work, the long hours, the concentrated effort that went into it, and in the end no one acknowledged you for it?  How did that make you feel?  Did it make you want to continue to do it again or rather did it make you feel like “what’s the use”?” Most likely you felt like saving yourself the effort the next time around.

Now try this…stop and take a moment to thank your wife for having cooked a wonderful meal and let her know how much you appreciate the way she prepared the meal. Tell you husband how much it means to you when he takes the trash out with out you having to remind him.  Thank your son or daughter for the extra chores that they do around the house and make sure to reward them in some significant way for their good job! Express today to your co-worker your appreciation for all the details that they tend to throughout the day!  Do this regularly for a few months and see if you don’t notice a major difference in how they work, respond to you and reciprocate your attitude!

By applying this principal and putting it into practice, you are sure to notice a tremendous change for the better!  Appreciation is powerful, appreciation is yet another way of expressing love and it is love, not money that makes the world go around!  How has it changed your life when you have been appreciated? What was it like to go largely unnoticed? Your comments are appreciated!  (Yes they truly will be!)

Making Others Be Just Like Us!?

We have all been created equal, yet we are all different one from the other.  That is what makes life so wonderful, the world so colorful and life so amazing!  And yet, despite this wonderful difference, many of us spend a great deal of our time trying to make others just like us! We think, erroneously, that if others would just be like us, then we would get along so much better.  The world would be a better place if only we were all the same! This is a mistaken thought that we tend to have in relationships, in politics and on the workplace.

Why is not good in a relationship?

When we find our “soul mate” and fall in love, we enjoy our partner so much that the differences that are between us go largely unnoticed. We are so over-the-moon, love-struck, mesmerized and are just down right having fun, we do not notice the gazillions of idiosyncrasies that our new-found love has. Then, once the honeymoon’s over and realty sets in, you start seeing the areas that you are not so sure you like.  So many begin at this point to try to stuff their partner into their mold, trying to make them become what they are not.

It can be a pretty confusing period to go through to suddenly find out that, the love of your life, no longer accepts you for who you are but now has begun have you become what he or she would prefer you to be. Without realizing it ourselves, what we are really trying to do, is to get them to be just like ourselves so that we can now get along better. But this actually is not why we fell in love in the first place, in fact, by doing so it could be the very thing that will continue to separate you even more.

Once you have partially been successful in “cloning” your partner into someone compatible with how you think they should be, then enters the competition stage.  They finally comply with your wishes (or try to) and then you find yourself together with someone who will compete with you in everything you do instead of being themselves.  So, how do you avoid all of this and keep a relationship from this downward spiral?

Well, it is time to take a step back and make a list of all of the attributes that attracted you to this person in the first place.  Realize that it was not that they were so much like you, but that they were actually complimenting you.  Make a list of  all the things that you are thankful that they are good at and that they do that you are not and how they have completed you. Allow them the freedom to enjoy what they like doing most, as time spent on separate activities is healthy for your relationship and you will then appreciate your time together even more.

Why is it not good at the workplace?

The main goal you have in a company is to get the most done in order to accomplish the agreed upon goals and policies.  To do s, it does not necessarily mean to do it all in the very same way.  Follow the rules and policies of the company yes, but at the end of the day, the results are what you are looking for, not how they are reached.

Some bosses are on the look out for little “mini-mes”, but a good boss will be on the look out for those with some personality and initiative to find new and better ways to get the job done.  If you are trying to squeeze everyone into a mold, trying to get them to do things exactly like you, you could be squelching the very thing that could catapult your company into a totally new and successful adventure.  Do not put a lid on novelty, many of the most successful entrepreneurs have become very wealthy because they tried things that had never been done before, thanks to the contribution of other people.

Thank God we are all different, you need your co-workers as much as they need you as no one is the all-in-all and really knows it all.  So instead of getting everyone to be like you, be thankful for each and everyone’s personal talents, get them to work together in cooperation.  Can you imagine if our body was one big huge head and nothing else?  We would not get very far, in fact we would be totally unable to move!

Why is it not good in politics?

In the running of a country, if everyone were totally the same, believed the same way, and never questioned the other, we would be in a real mess!  Debate can be healthy, it is only when the different parties start to pick on tiny details that it then becomes a tremendous bottle neck and things can come to a literal stand still! You need the diversity in order to see the big picture, but what is it that we should be looking for through this diversity?  The answers that are necessary to keep the nation going forward for the better of the people of that nation.

It is not good to try to convince the other party that yours is the right party, this is silly, there is no right party, they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.  Having diversity in a country helps to avoid a totalitarian dictatorship, but it should never be a reason to cause total stagnation and lack of progress. It should stimulate thought and innovation which is what makes a country into a great nation!

In Summary

Diversity is a gift to man kind, not a curse.  It should be embraced, welcomed and accepted as a wonderful opportunity to combine two or more great people to form a more powerful entity.  We should never think that we have to try to push others into being just like us and thus robbing them of their individuality! Granted, it can be a challenge at times to work with others of diverse beliefs, customs or habits, but it can bring out the wonderful colors of a rainbow if you succeed!

Have you experienced situations in your life where someone was trying to make you into what you are not?  What was the result?

The Pot And The Kettle Are Both Black!

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.”–Wayne Dyer

We all would like to be successful, to accomplish and to get things done! It is a great feeling for one, it helps our own self-esteem.  Of course it also helps us to get ahead and not be left behind, and it helps us to be able to support our families and be counted amongst our peers.  But sometimes things can go wrong and we hit a hard time or we make the wrong decision and we fail! This can be rather discouraging.

Everyone makes mistakes and without them we would never really learn where we need to do better.  They can be good for us in that sense so we can improve, and God knows room for improvement is in every household! But for some, the thought of having made a mistake is so horrifying that to admit to having made one is like death itself! So they feel the need to play the blame game! By doing so, nothing is learned and nothing is solved! The pot and the kettle remain black!

At the end of the day what truly matters is to find a solution!  Who cares who it was to have made the original mistake, if you continue to dwell on this, there is no time or way to find a solution and to move on!  Look at the global economical debacle and to zero in on that which is in the USA, things have not changed. Why?  Because both parties are still trying to blame the other for the mistakes that have been made in the past when, sad to say, by doing so, the same mistakes are being repeated to this day!

What can be the solution? Well, the pot and the kettle are here to stay, but what needs to be changed is the fire underneath!  A solution needs to be found and that is to regulate the mixture of gas and air so that the flame burns blue once again!  How to get the flame blue again?, Well most certainly not by dwelling on the fact that both the pot and the kettle are black!

The same goes for personal relationships, business ventures etc.  If you spend all of your time trying to pin the blame on someone instead of trying to find a working solution, you are just wasting time! Things do not get better by diverting your attention to the problems and accentuating them.  They only can get better when the parties involved unitedly seek a solution for the betterment of the couple, nation or company!

So, put down your fingers, and pull up your sleeves and get to work!  There is so much that can be done!  I am really interested to hear from YOU!  What are your thoughts on this matter?

Leadership Lessons Part 1

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” — David Gergen

The role of a leader is something that you grow into after you have learned what it means to follow.  There are certain attributes that a leader must have and they are vision, , inspiration, initiative and courage, the guts to see something through.  A true leader is one that doesn’t need to continue to remind everyone that he is the boss. He inspires others with a desire to join in because it is evident that he is going somewhere.

Being a leader does not mean to lord authority over others and be continuously barking out orders.  It is having a vision for a certain job or project, the ability to impart the vision to others to the point that they too are excited to have the chance to take part in it.  A leader is also a person who is capable of recognizing his limitations and when it is time to confer with others who may be able to offer sound advice.

If you are a real leader, you will not feel threatened that others will take your place but rather you will pull other in that show signs of  leadership potential and will surround yourself by them.  By doing so you will be able to both benefit from their input and  train them to carry on should you have to take a leave of absence.

It is a common error when one is freshly pulled into a place of leadership that they over-compensate and err in many of the above mentioned areas.  They think that they need to prove their capability to be “in charge”, but then end up losing the following that they so desperately need in order to complete a mission. Seasoned leaders inspire a solid trust from their followers, as a follower you feel more secure if you are part of the “team” and not just part of the “pack”.

A real leader knows that he needs a team, he cultivates his team and makes them feel at ease around him, they know that if they have another seemingly better idea, they can in all confidence share their ideas without feeling as though they are not yielding to his leadership.  There is a free and trusting bi-directional flow of communication .

What do you admire about a good leader? Do you have a boss that you feel inspired by, or rather do you feel you are not being heard?  Share your points here!