An Invitation

Fire Rainbow

“I believe I have a personal responsibility to make a positive impact.” ~ Anthony Fauci

I chose this image (source: Pinterest) of a “fire rainbow” to illustrate a rare and wonderful atmospheric phenomenon. I also wanted to contrast the point that beauty demonstrated, is not always rare.

Some of you know that I have been wanting to give more of my time, talents and energy to a meaningful and significant cause — on a volunteer basis. This Spring a beautiful opportunity presented.

This March, 2016 Press Release announced my election to the Board of The Coach Initiative – a ten years young organization that supports nonprofit initiatives worldwide to make a greater positive impact.

An Invitation

More specifically, The Coach Initiative (TCI) offers, on a pro-bono basis, coaching support to exponentially expand the positive global impact of projects that focus on the betterment of the human condition and on uplifting the human spirit.

TCI looks to a future where every not-for-profit organization with the purpose of making a positive impact in the world has the support of an experienced professional coach to enhance their contribution toward safer, healthier, happier, more productive global citizenry and the protection and care of our planet.

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We are moving quickly! And herein lies the invitation:

If you are aware of an established not-for-profit organization that could benefit from what TCI offers (see above link), I would like to learn about that nonprofit from you. Preferably, it would be an organization that you have personal experience with, one that you can vouch for their efforts and meaningful focus. In turn, I will have TCI contact that organization with information on how to apply to its program.

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In lieu of often shared points for consideration, following are three quotes that, I believe, remind us of what we are capable of doing. Choices that we make can contribute to the betterment of the human condition.  We simply need to act.

  • “A freely given gift can create a ripple of positive change in a person’s life, their family and their community.” ~ Unknown
  • “You have to throw the stone to get the pool to ripple.” ~ Glenn Tilbrook
  • “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Inconvenienced, So?

2084496457_ae3580dfdd_m“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” ~ Robert Fulghum

A friend shared today that McDonald’s intends to “allure a new generation of teens and 20-somethings currently obsessed with Chipotle burritos and salad bowls with the company’s affordable coffee, new lower-calorie menu, and convenience check-out changes.” And I found myself wondering… they still don’t get it.

Yet convenience sells. People love easy. And comfortable. Can you imagine trying to sell something that inconvenienced people? Even if the benefits of that inconvenience were guaranteed? Why do you think the majority of people don’t follow through with their exercise program? It’s inconvenient.

What effect will all this efficiency, speed, ease, comfort and convenience have on us as a collective people over the long-term? How will it affect our ability to deal with real adversity and problems? How can we become a powerful, adaptable and resilient species when our default setting is locked on easy?

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When we consider convenient versus inconvenient, some minds might conjure:

  • Driving when you could take a bus, train, bicycle or walk
  • Voluntarily recycling
  • Ending difficult relationships
  • Being selfish contrasted with giving freely
  • Rejecting life-giving organs from random/unknown donors
  • Choosing fast food rather than healthy/nutritious choices
  • Coping with last minute venue changes
  • Lying versus telling the truth

Sometimes we make plans and find them thwarted at every turn. We ride against the wind for a while, and then we complain and look around for someone to blame. Being inconvenienced is about how we deal with, embrace, and learn from things we can’t control; those outside forces that often blind side and force us to change. It also factors into how we handle stressful situations.

3125636743_01c7fe348b_mLife happens because it is existing. Just as our cells divide without our influence, so to do circumstances that inconvenience. Inconvenience has no motivation to know you or influence you in any way. It simply is. And when it presents, you can address it in many ways. Here are three for your consideration:

  1. Avoid always doing “me” things. These are activities that people desire to do on their spare time by themselves; sleeping in later, taking a walk by themselves, or reading a book in a quiet place. Instead, agree to an outing with friends even if it inconveniences you. Your time and company might just be what someone needs.
  2. In a similar vein, experience an Inconvenience Yourself Day. If you have to put someone else before you, how did that make you feel? Were you satisfied or unhappy with the result? Try to adapt and practice this often and see if it comes back to you.
  3. When inconvenience strikes, the behavior of others is a tempting target for resentment. One’s annoyance seems justified and self-absolving. Refusing to understand and own your reaction to being inconvenienced is simply shirking a personal responsibility. Why not simply chill and reflect on what just happened?

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Wasting, Existing or Thriving

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Have you ever had this opening remark directed at you? It’s a stunning statement yet for some people, it may apply or have applied. It’s certainly not complimentary and it could be a life changer, if accurate and intended. But let’s shift from wasting time and life.

Enter existing. Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before. That’s okay, and comfortable for some (many?), until you’ve gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life. Existing can be synonymous with an endless status quo, idyllic, anchored, indifferent, stale, slogging away.

Simply existing is really kind of sad. Dodo kind of sad. While penguins and ostriches are flightless, penguins can swim and an ostrich can run fast. The dodo simply became extinct when a predator was introduced. While we cannot fly, most of us can do things that are exciting, invigorating, like swimming or running.

Have you watched your kids go off to college, only to realize you missed their childhoods? Time wasted? Sure we have jobs, chores and others things we don’t necessarily enjoy, but a large part of living is focusing on the enjoyable; actively engaging. It has been proven that if you focus on that which makes you miserable, you’re not going to live fully. And many will acknowledge that simply existing can be miserable. Still, if existing is to what you aspire, then who is anyone else to encourage you otherwise?

But if you want to truly live life, to thrive, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from a mundane existence and embrace life. Truly living involves spending time doing things that inspire you. Even if you only sing briefly in the shower, if that’s what you truly love to do, enjoy yourself and live it. You don’t need a recording contract or groupies, simply enjoy the experience.

If you’d like a couple of reminders for how to thrive, here are four:

  1. Learn to be 100% responsible for your life. Admit/own your ‘mistakes’ (aka learning opportunities) and learn from them. Trust that something better will happen because of them and thus, allow you to live both more aware and at choice.
  2. Thriving is important because you are a person of great value. You are worthy of the best life has to offer.
  3. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, concerned about what might go wrong. Be bold. Invite some risk. Quit your job and start your own business (plan it out first!). Ask out that person to whom you’ve been attracted to for some time. What have you got to lose?
  4. And this one might get me in trouble… Turn off the TV. How many hours do you waste (see, we’ve come full circle to waste) in front of that screen? Lessen your attraction (addiction?) to it and find other things to do, things that will stretch or challenge you. Consider actions that will nourish your thriving.

The Joy of Being You

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ~ Mark Twain

I had a client who, by any measure, possessed and achieved everything many people want. Yet he didn’t believe he was a good person; someone worthy of all with which he had been blessed. He had unbelievable expectations of himself and self-imposed standards that he (for many years) was unwilling to reconsider. He pretty much painted himself into a limited corner for growth. He wasn’t a good person or a bad person, he just held fast to some cumulative, personal decisions.

There are choices and actions that lead us in different directions, and it is through those choices and actions that we create our realities. Sometimes we choose or do something that takes us in the opposite direction of the reality we want to create for ourselves. When we do this we feel badly – uneasy, unhappy, unsure. We might go as far as to label ourselves “bad” when a situation like this arises. Instead of labeling ourselves, though, we could simply acknowledge that we made a choice that led us down a particular path, and then let it go, forgiving ourselves and preparing for our next opportunity to choose, and act, in ways that support our best intentions.

Many of us experienced childhoods in which the words good and bad were used as techniques to control us — you were good if you did what you were told and bad if you didn’t. Such discipline undermines a person’s ability to find their own moral center and to trust and be guided by their own inner self. It is important that we grow beyond what we learned and take responsibility for our choices in our own terms.

You are a human being with every right to be here, learning and exploring. To label yourself good, bad or otherwise is to think too small. What you are is a decision-maker and every moment provides you the opportunity to move in the direction of your higher self or in the direction of stagnation or degradation.

If you are interested in accepting and being yourself, here are three steps you can take:

  • Stop before you act. Whenever you are faced with the choice of living your true self in the outside world, or not, stop for a moment. Don’t act. Acknowledge your choices. Contemplate their consequences. Ask if the consequence of choosing YOU will be intolerable. And how it would feel to deny being yourself. Feel your answers. Then act.
  • Shift the focus back to you. The outer world is a reflection of what is going on within us because we project our own thoughts and feelings onto other people and events. We give it our own meaning. Remember, you can’t change other people, the past, or circumstances out of your control. All you can change is yourself. Shift the focus back onto yourself and realize you have to power to change your life.
  • Make little changes. As you discover little truths about yourself, make little changes. What you might think of as little can have a huge impact on your life. For instance, a slight shift in perspective can color how you choose to approach everything in your life. And that may be all you need to feel significantly happier. I’m not against bold or dramatic change. What’s important is to understand why you are making changes.

In the end, only you know the difference. If you find yourself going into self-judgment, try to stop yourself as soon as you can and come back to center. Know that you are not good or bad, you are simply you.