Wednesday, October 31, 2018
What mark are you leaving on the world? Have you made much of a difference? What kind of difference is it? Are you satisfied with that mark? Or are you still working toward that mark?
At my age I often contemplate my mark on the world. I'd say my mark is mostly positive because I have worked toward that. It is my ultimate goal. But I haven't always considered that. I guess because I am closer to death than to birth, by a long margin, it is something I'm more aware of. I do, though, wonder if otheres think about the mark they will leave on the world.
Depending on your age, I suppose, you may or may not often think of your death. And I don't mean that I dwell on how or when I will die. But I do think about what I will leave behind. Have I said or done something that impacted someone enough to change their life in a positive way?
I think I probably have. I worked as a mental health counselor in the State prison system and have had many meaningful exchanges with men who have lost their way. I have seen then look at themselves in a new way. I have seen them change what they believe. It has been heartening for me to know that sometimes I have made a difference in their lives.
I have done a lot of volunteer work and helped many causes through church and civic groups. While that work is usually another degree of separation, not so much individual to individual, I know that it has made a difference in some lives. I led programs to build houses in Haiti after it was devastated, to replace firefighter equipment after Hurricane wiped out a station house on the East Coast, to make dresses and shorts for children in Africa and Honduras, to help elderly poor in our city to clear their yards to avoid city violations, to provide new Christmas gifts to 200 unsheltered homeless in our city. Most of all those folks never knew my name and all of that brings me joy.
Obviously my children and grandchildren have been part of me trying to be a good role model. They have made their mark on me, that's for sure. And I hope my being in their world has made it better somehow.
What about you? Will the world know you were here? What mark have you made on the world? Please share.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Most good leaders leverage at least some of these characteristics.
It is important to stick to the truth so that you have less to remember! Seriously, though, trust is important. Without trust your leadership will be weak and people will not follow for long, especially after they see your dishonesty.
You are not really leading if you try to do everything yourself. You want people to participate in achieving your goal, and to do that they will need to have a role in the process. Delegate others to take on some responsibility.
Good communication is vital for a leader. You must be able to listen to all those concerned in your process. It will help you make the best choices.
A sense of humor will keep you sane. There will always be "bumps in the road" and keeping your mood light will help your followers to endure the bumps as well as celebrate the successes. And, as de Gaulle said, you want to keep some surprises to keep folks excited about the work.
Have confidence in yourself and in your goals. Be confident about the changes you are creating. And trust yourself to know when you are finished. There may or may not be a "finish" to chaning the world to make it better. But be aware of what is needed and confidently lead on.
To be a truly effective leader you need to be in it for the long haul. Your commitment must be based on your compassion for the goal. You must love what you do, even when it gets hard or messy, to make a lasting difference.
Believe in yourself and in the goal that you are working for. Believe in your plan and your process. Even when things seem to be getting nowhere, believe that you can make a positive difference. Always see the glass as half full with faith that you can add enough to fill the glass and reach your goal.
Life happens. It brings challenges. And as leader it is up to you to come up with solutions to problems. Creative problem solving will get you through the challenges. This is when you need to listen to others and to delegate where appropriate. Problem solving is an intagral part of leadership.
Folks will be inspired by your attitude and your story of why your goal is something you are passionate about. Gather stories from others as well. Bring ideas to life in stories.
Your intuition will guide you if you learn to listen to it and have confidence in it. the human brain is amazing. And intuition is part of that amazing organ. When you "just know" something, go with it. As you exercise intuition it will strengthen and lead you in what comes next. Know when you have enough.
People like to be appreciated. Express your gratitude generously. Make your expression specific and honest. You will gain trust and faithful followers.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Does this sound to lofty an ideal for you? It's not really. You can use it to achieve even less lofty, more mundane goals. You probably use it every day to achieve family goals or community goals. The idea here is to use it to achieve goals that make the world better, even the world where you live and work.
Identify your goal and determine who and how you want to work toward the goal with you. It doesn't matter what style of leadership that fits you. The important thing is the goal.
In my next post I'll look at what makes a good leader.
Sunday, October 21, 2018
I've been writing about how to become a better person in order to create a better world. I suggest that getting a cat might do that! What can having a cat do for you?
Cats can help keep humor in your life. They can make you laugh or smile at their antics, especially kittens. Kittens are learning how to use their bodies to traverse their world. They can end up in the funniest places. Adult cats also try this, and their fails can be very funny. So get a cat to make you smile.
Cats can help you socially. They can make great ice breakers, especially if you don't have kids. Everyone love a good story about your cat or your kid. And those silly cat videos on the internet create bonds between people. When my kids were little, meeting new people was easier because we could talk about our kids. But when the kids are grown and gone, there are fewer cute stories. So get a cat.
Cats can develop your creativity. Cats find fun in all kinds of places. The love empty boxes, a laser pointer to chase, a catnip filled mouse or pocket, or anything tied to a string. Currently our cat's favorite toy is a plastic wand with a string on the end that was fastened to a jingle bell and four little feathers. The feathers are long gone, but she will chase that bell back and forth and in circles for longer than you want. I wear out after watching her do gymnastics chasing it for half an hour.
Cats help you play, which is the basis of creativity. So, get a cat.
Cats help us relax. Did you know that cuddling with your cat is actually good for yourhealth? HABRI, the Human Animal Bond Research initiative, has lots of research that indicates talking to or petting your pet has a positive, physical effect on people, lowers blood pressure, pulse rate, and breathing. That purr is good for you. So, get a cat.
Cats can offer unconcitional love, and invoke it from you. Learning to love unconditionally can certainly change the world, one person at a time. When you come home at the end of your day, having your cat happy to see you, rubbing and wanting rubbed, kneading you when you cuddle, can make your day better. And no matter what your cat has managed to get into, knocking things off surfaces, spilling their water, leaving hair on your chair while youve been gone, we really can't stay mad at our furry friend long. Your cat love you and you love it back. Spread the love. Get a cat.
However, I strongly recommend you get your pet from a reputable cat shelter where they certify the health of the cat, make sure it has it's immunazations, and is spayed or neutered before you can take it home. Unless you are becomming a breeder, be sure your cat is unable to create unwanted cats that are left to fend for themselves. And your cats need vacinnations against rabies and feline anemia. This protects your cat and any other cat it may come in contact with. So, get a cat and become a responsible pet owner.
It will make you a better person and you will make the world a better place.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Merriam Webster defines "forgive" as a transitive verb. "to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) one's enemies"
The definition of forgive says nothing about forgetting the offense. Nor does it suggest that you do it to benefit the other person. To forgive frees you from resentment and anger. It benefits you to make you life easier, better, freer.
Forgetting the offense would not be useful. If you forgot it happened, how would you prevent it happening again in the future? Every experience gives us information to us in determining how to make your way with people, how to evaluate situations, etc. No, don't forget.
But do let go of the feelings that may still linger when you remember the event. Forgiveness enables you to clear the slate with people and move on.
When a community, or group, or country, etc., harbors resentment against another, there is very little trust that can be built. And behavior choices are more likely to be made on the basis of feelings than on fact. How many wars and acts of violence between groups would be avoided if true forgiveness had occurred?
Forgive others, whether they know it or not. Forgive others, whether they even care or not. Do it for your betterment and to make the world better.
Resolve conflicts peacefully and learn from the experience. Keep your old emotions out of future situations. Let the resentment go.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Politeness. How does this help make you a better person and a better world?
Interesting that this virtue is part of being better. We Americans have a reputation of not being polite. I suppose it is because we ae so invested in being independent. We end up separated from others if we forget to be attentive to those around us. This separation can be why we aren't aware of the needs and desires of others, and therefore behave more selfishly, less patient, and without empathy.
Politeness is a behavior that can be chosen for different reasons, which is why many people are suspicious of polite behavior. Courteousness can be used to mask dislike, even hatred. Sometimes it is only a mask that people wear.
But for the better person it must be chosen because they truly care about other people and about how they are shown respect by politeness. Behavior that creates defensiveness only leads to greater separation and misunderstanding.
So, you can see how it can be a virtue of a good person, of a way to work through conflicting ideas between countries. And if you want to know how to be more polite, check out the video from YouTube below.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Sacrafice: to give up something that you want to keep, especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.
Most of us aren't good at sacrafice. Yet it is something we admire. We admire those military servicepersons for their sacrafice of time with their family, risk to their well-being, giving of their lives. We admire first responders for their sacrafices in the line of duty.
However, many of us make small sacrafices for our loved ones. We give up time to earn a living to support family. We give up money for good causes. But is that truly a sacrafice?
Yes, for some people their jobs are dangerous or really physically demanding. But do you do that to make your own life better? Or is it only for the support of someone else? And when you give money to charity, how much of a scrafice is it?
When I was working, I did it to support myself and to feel fullfilled. Of course, at that point I was single and my kids were on their own. So only when I got too ill to work, and worked anyway, was it a sacrifice? But it was still a sacrifice for myself. I gave up something that I wanted to keep, my time and health, to get somtheing for myself. So not a true sacrifice.
And, while I give a lot of my money to charity, I still live comfortably. I could always use that money for something else, but it isn't truly a sacrifice. I don't know that my ability/willingness to sacrifice has ever be tested. I'd like to think I would sacrifice for the people I care about, even for people I don't know personallly. But I don't think I've ever needed too.
This sounds like white privelige to me. Even though I am retired and on a fixed income, I have everything I actually need and a lot of what I want. What would I sacrifice for something I really care about - like saving our country's democracy or providing shelter for the homeless or making a significant difference in the lives of Native Americans living in poverty on reservations?
Do I have the courage to make a significant difference in the world? I tell myself it isn't possible for me to do any of those things on my own. While that is true there must be things I can do with others to make them possible. So, I'm asking myself, "What would I need to do to make that difference?"
I'm not sure. But I imagine it is something outside my comfort zone or I would already be doing it. I have gone to rallys and protests, none of them really dangerous. I post my opinions on social media and sometimes people don't like what I post. And while that is emotionally uncomfortable, it isn't risky. I collect and send money to supply Native American elderly with things that make their winters easier and to provide school supplies to their children living in poverty. I make hats for the homeless and for newborns. I crochet sleeping mats for the unsheltered homeless from plastic grocery bags. I collect food and other items for the unsheltered homeless and deliver it to the folks who disperse it to people living on the streets or homeless camps. None of that is a sacrifice, really.
So, what do I need to do to make a significant difference in the world, to create a better world? What do you need to do? How are you making a difference?
I believe that joining with others for a cause is powerful and can create a better world. What cause do/will you want to add your power to make a difference?