Let us be clear right from the start, I am not advocating using people in any negative form whatsoever. Quite the opposite. When we are finished with our brief time here together, I think you will have a new appreciation for what ‘using people’ can mean. To illustrate, I would love to share two personal stories of mine with you. The first involves a very early childhood friend. Let us call him Andy because, well, that is what his name was. He was one of my very first good friends. I am thinking somewhere near the age of 3 or 4. I remember he had bright red hair and that we pretty much did everything together. Then, in second grade, he moved away. We never exchanged addresses or phone numbers. To this day, I do not even know what happened to my early childhood friend.
I could blame my lack of thought regarding Andy on the fact that I was only 7 years old. You don’t really think too much about the future when you are that age. That would be fine, except one little problem. Take a look at the picture above. That is a picture of mine and Margie’s friends Curtis and Danie, with their son. They used to run a coffee shop/cafe in town. Both very nice people and I am sure their son will be an outstanding gentleman as he grows up. This wonderful family moved out west to pursue their dreams for their future. Here is the ironic thing. Before they left, Margie and I were saying how much fun it would be to spend some time with them just relaxing and doing fun things. Every time we saw each other, we would say something like, “Yes! Let us set something up!” All of our lives were busy, and sadly, that moment never happened.
Unlike my story with Andy, we at least are able to keep track via social media. In fact, as I wrote this, I messaged Curtis to let him know I was writing something about him. It would seem that I have learned little or nothing in the 40 years since my friend Andy moved away. Before you judge me, ask yourself one question. How many times have you said to yourself, “Man I wish I would have _____ with that person. Now it is too late.” This can hold true of people who moved away or even people who have passed on. We look back and think of how foolish we spent the time that we had with them. That is not to say every second has to be be planned and accounted for. Sometimes, the goal might just to be fully present and focused on enjoying time with someone. Taking time to enjoy their jokes, their voice or the way they look at a certain situation.
I encourage you to think of someone who is important in your life. How can you better use the time with them? Is there a certain activity you wish to do with them? Maybe it is as simple as spending a quiet dinner just slowing down and enjoying each others company? It may seem like work to rearrange a schedule and make things happen. Do you know what is even more work? Living with the weight of regret that you did not make the most of people and moments when you had the chance. I advocate using people. Use them to show love. Use them to show how much you care. Use them to create wonderful memories with. Use them to show your appreciation for the wonderful humans they are. Use people…before it is too late.
Today is Happy Friendship Day (really, feel free to Google it) I suggest we all just celebrate the amazing friends we have. There does not have to be an exchange of gifts, just an exchange of hand shakes, high fives, and hugs! Celebrate new friends! Celebrate old friends! How would you choose to celebrate?
How many of these things could you accomplish today? Refuel your soul. How do you do that? It can be as simple as a walk in nature with someone you love. Time with just a good book and a glass of lemonade. Simply avoiding the harsh news and realities of the world for a day.
Be grateful for your blessings. We have covered this one several times in this site. Gratitude has life transformational qualities. There is always something to be grateful for. A few years ago we did a monthly grateful exercise. We are coming up on a new month, so why not get your practice in today?
Take a deep breath and relax. In our go,go,go world, we have lost the ability to have quality relaxation. I’m guilty of this. With 7 jobs i pursue, there is seldom a moment off. This is why learning how to make those moments quality ones is so important. Plus, researching the best way for you to relax can be fun!
Spend time with family, friends and a good cup of coffee. When you do this, keep the conversation positive. Don’t waste time discussing politics and other topics that can create stress. Spend the time encouraging and lifting each other up. Enjoy the smiles and the love.
This Sunday, recreate and recharge yourself. You deserve it!
TODAY MARKS 3 WEEKS SINCE MY CRAZY HEART SURGERY. MY PATIENCE WITH GETTING BACK IS WEARING THIN, BUT NOT MUCH I CAN DO. I USE A LOT OF TIME IN REFLECTION. AS WITH ANY CHALLENGE, I ASK MYSELF “HOW CAN I USE THIS?” THIS INCLUDES THINKING OF THE LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A FEW WITH YOU.
AS I MENTIONED, PATIENCE IS A LESSON I’M LEARNING. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I CAN BE PATIENT WITH, BUT FEELING BETTER ISN’T ONE OF THEM. I USUALLY TRY EVERYTHING TO GET BETTER AND GO WITH WHAT WORKS. THIS CAN INCLUDE SUPPLEMENTS, DIET,EXERCISE AND A MILLION OTHER THINGS. WITH HEART SURGERY, ALL YOU CAN DO IS WAIT. PAINS COME AND GO, YOU CAN’T REALLY DO MUCH WITHOUT RUNNING OUT OF BREATH. THE DOCTORS TELL YOU “THAT IS NORMAL. IT WILL JUST TAKE TIME. ” PATIENCE…A LESSON I’M LEARNING.
ANOTHER ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES. IT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE SOMETHING I WAS REMINDED OF. IN TODAY’S WORLD, A LOT OF US PUT OUR LIVES TO THE SIDE WHEN OUR JOB NEEDS US. YET, WE KNOW FULL WELL OUR JOB WILL REPLACE US IN A HEARTBEAT, BUT OUR LOSS TO OUR TRUE FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL BE FELT FOR A LONG TIME AFTER WE ARE GONE.
SPEAKING OF TRUE FRIENDS AND FAMILY, YOU LEARN THE PEOPLE THE CARE AND WOULD MISS YOU. I DO MY BEST TO ENCOURAGEME AND INSPIRE EVERYONE I COME IN CONTACT WITH. I FIGURE THE WORLD HAS ENOUGH CRITICS, IT COULD USE SOME MORE CHEERLEADERS. WHAT SHOCKED ME WAS WHO BECAME CHEERLEADERS FOR ME. THIS WAS BOTH GOOD AND BAD.
IN MY DAY JOB, I WORK WITH ROUGHLY 50 PEOPLE. I DO MY BEST TO BRING A LITTLE JOY AND LAUGHTER TO AS MANY AS I CAN THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THE NUMBER OF THEM WHO CHECKED ON ME? IT WAS GREATER THAN ZERO… BUT LESS THAN TWO. ONE OUT OF 50. YET, THERE WERE PEOPLE I HAVEN’T SEEN IN PERSON IN SOME TIME WHO FOLLOW MY WEBSITE OR YOUTUBE CHANNEL AND THEY REACHED OUT. FRIENDS I DON’T SPEAK TO REGULARLY, EVEN FRIENDS OF MARGIE’S OFFERED TO HELP OUT. A GREAT REMINDER TO GO WHERE YOU ARE CELEBRATED, NOT TOLERATED.
THERE ARE ALSO THE THINGS THAT FILL MY LIFE WITH JOY THAT HAVE BEEN REMOVED OR LIMITED WITH MY RECOVERY. I LOVE GOING FOR WALKS IN NATURE. I’M GOING TO TRY A SMALL ONE TODAY, BUT NOT BEING ABLE TO KEEP GOING CAN BE FRUSTRATING. I LOVE GOING TO THE GYM. GREAT STRESS RELEASE AND HELPS WITH MY SANITY. CAN’T LIFT MORE THAN 10 POUNDS FOR 3 MONTHS, SO THAT WILL HAVE TO WAIT.
THE END RESULT OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT THE GREATER THE CHALLENGE, THE MORE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED. THERE WERE AND ARE MANY MORE LESSONS THIS HAS TAUGHT ME. THE SECRET HERE IS TO BE ABLE TO SEE THEM AS GIFTS INSTEAD OF OBSTACLES. ANOTHER LESSON THERE…PERCEPTION GOES A LONG WAY TO DETERMINING YOUR REALITY. YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THAT LAST LINE AGAIN. I ENCOURAGE YOU ALL TO FIND THE GIFTS AND LESSONS IN YOUR CHALLENGES.
Although rather morbid sounding, this statement rings true. Compliments are difficult to both give and receive for many adults. We have 6 people to carry us physically in death, why can’t we have 6 people to carry us emotionally and spiritually in life? Can you imagine what that might be like? 6 people checking in on you, 6 people to encourage you on a daily basis.
Maybe this wouldn’t happen from every person on every day. How different would your life be if one of these 6 people popped in to encourage or check on you? If you have 6 of them, that would be roughly one a day. We will give them Sundays off. How much more valued would you feel? Would you have more confidence and a feeling of support when trying new things? What other benefits could this add?
The million dollar question would then be, “Neil, how do I find these 6 people?” Surely you could go up and ask people, “Hey do you want to call and check on or encourage me once a week?”At the risk of sounding a little desperate, it may also leave you wondering how genuine the compliments and concern may be.
So, if you can’t just ask them, what the heck do you do? I have two solutions. The first should be obvious. As the cliche goes, if you can’t find a good friend, be one. By picking a few friends and just checking in on them once a week, eventually chances are they will return the favor. Noticing how good it felt to them, they will want to do the same for someone else.
Secondly, you can get a group of trusted friends together and explain this idea to them. If everyone sends an encouraging word, or makes it a point to check in on each other, the whole group will benefit extraordinarily.
To be honest, in this world of a million ways to communicate, I am rather surprised this is not a thing. We can slip an encouraging word in an email. We can check in with someone on Facebook messenger. We can even send an encouraging or silly picture to a friend via text. Gather your posse and make it a point to carry each other through life emotionally and spiritually before we have to carry each other in death physically.
Here we are. Another Monday, the beginning of another work week. I know that may excite some of you and some of you may be less than enthused. If you are reading this post on the site “Secret2anamazinglife.com” it would be a fair assertion that you are looking to make your life…well…more amazing. The secret to living a more amazing life is having less stress, more joy and working to become the best version of ourselves. This should seem fairly obvious. The real question is how do we do this.
I have dedicated over 20 years to exploring this question. Many of the answers can be found both on this blog as well as in my two books, A Happy Life for Busy People and Living the Dream. One of the greatest areas the influences the amount of both stress and joy in our lives to a great degree is our relationships. This is such an important area that I have dedicated a section to it in both of the afore-mentioned books. “Picking your Posse” as the sections are called, is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Forming your ‘Spirit Tribe’ as the quote above calls it, is something far too many of us do without any or much thought. Instead of making a conscious effort to choose who to have, or in some cases eliminate, from our lives, we let circumstance decide. For an area that has such a great impact, and that we have a good deal of control over, why are we leaving such a good portion of it up for chance? We have to take advantage of our ability to both bring in and let out people in our lives. Here are a few examples of how to do that. If you would like to dive deeper into this subject, please click the link at the end of this post to be taken to my author page and order one or both of my books.
The first step in “picking your posse” is to decide who you would like in it. This could be specific people or even the type of people. If you know the specific people you would like to spend more time with, the answer is pretty straight forward. Call them up, shoot them an email, or better yet go up to them in person and make some plans. Grab some coffee, get dinner, go the the gym or for a walk. Whatever you would desire to do, reach out and make it happen. What if you know the type of people you would like in your life? Think of the qualities of the people you would like in your life. Would you like encouraging people? People who are driven? People who like to work out? People who like to visit art museums? Write that down. If you look at your list and can think of people you know who have those skills, just follow our earlier example and make some plans with them
What if you do not know people with the traits, skills or attitudes that you are desiring to be more a part of your life? In that case, thank the powers that be you live in the time you do. Picking a posse has never been easier. With the internet and social media we can join groups, follow pages and join discussion groups in any area of interest we have. There we will find many people who also share that interest with us. It goes without saying you should always exercise caution and common sense when meeting someone new for the first time. There are also groups who meet regularly at libraries, coffee shops and many other places in town. They are definitely worth exploring.
The added bonus of adding all of these great people to your life is that it will leave you less time to be stuck with people you do not desire. This can be a Godsend for those too polite or even scared to eliminate the negative people from their lives. Think about who you would like in your posse, or spirit tribe today. Reach out, do some research and start spending time with them. The right people can transform our lives for the better and do so in a hurry!
Wealth can be defined many ways. One that I really think matters is relationships. Let us face it, if you have all of the money and possessions in the world but nobody to enjoy them with you are about as broke as they come. I have been wanting to write about my outstanding wealth of great relationships in my life for a while and thought that now would be as good of time as any. I wanted to do so in some sort of orderly fashion. I knew there was no way I would be able to include everyone. If you are not mentioned in today’s post please do not take it as a slight in any way. There are so many great friends I am blessed to have it would take a whole post just listing their names.
First, I wanted to talk about some of the people I have known the longest. These people have been in my life so long it has me wondering if I am that good of a friend or if I just happen to befriend patient and forgiving people. In reflection I would say it is a little bit of both. My friend Matt, or ‘Big Sexy’ as those close to him know him, has been in my life since the age of 7. Matt is not only a fun and entertaining person you would love to have at any party, but one of the most caring and honest people I know. Whenever I am asked to describe him, my answer is always the same. “Matt is one of those people you would give the keys to your house, go on vacation and not worry a second.” My friends Amy and Jon I have known since kindergarten. Both of them have went on to raise amazing families and are a great example of what a parent should be. I am lucky to still have both of them in my life. My friend Jeremy I have known the longest. I believe we met when I was 4. His mom and mine were close friends. Although I don’t have the pleasure of talking to him that much these days, I can admire his passion for his beliefs and for the arts.
The next group of people I have known quite some time as well, but I am only now able to appreciate how wonderful they are. My Friend Kelly and I went to high school together and interacted a little. Later, I discovered her wonderful ability to cut hair and she began to be the one to cut my hair every time I needed a haircut. It was Kelly that I went to when I decided to go from decades of long hair to a mohawk. I can still remember the combination of shock and excitement when I told her that is what I was looking for. My friend Jodi and I also had went to the same high school. We really didn’t talk much then, but reintroduced through a mutual friend Russ (more on him later) we reconnected and she has been so sweet to both myself and my lovely Margie (more on her later as well) My friend Angie has been in my life for a long time as well. We still run into each other at local functions. It has been a true blessing to see what a great mother and example for her children she has become. My friends Jennifer and Scott are both amazing people. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them for years. Scott I have always admired for his integrity. He has always been a man of great character. Jennifer and I started out on the wrong foot to say the least. When we met we were told the other was the cause of a host of different situations that was not true. Fortunately for me, I met Jennifer again through her father Dale, who was one of the nicest men I have ever met. We were able to discuss the misinformation we both received and have become fast friends. I admire the work she does with foster animals. Another great things about Jennifer and Scott is they got married and are raising a wonderful family. Great when 2 wonderful friends come together.
Next are people I have met through my career in writing. It is my passion and meeting these people have certainly impacted my life for the better. My Aussie friend Kaylene and I initially met discussing music we both enjoyed. We became good friends and remain so to this day. We have exchanged gifts with each other and I really look forward to visiting her some day. She is doing an amazing job raising her two boys. Andrada is a friend of mine in Romania. She is also an author and a host of an amazing podcast. She is a great example of how to put all of your skills to use. Aura is my Romanian friend who lives in the United States. She is the publisher of See Beyond magazine. I will be forever grateful to Aura for allowing me the opportunity to share my talents with her audience. Carole is another amazing and driven woman I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Carole is an accomplished journalist and now hosts a show called Positively Milwaukee. The show highlights positive things in our community. She put together an amazing piece on me and my writing. I was so grateful for all of her hard work.
Then there are the people I have met in my bartending/DJ career. My friend Bret is truly one in a million. Confident to be himself, but always caring about others. He has a great talent singing and performing as well as an amazing brother in Bart and sister in Alisa, both who also belong on this list. My friends Kelly and Steve not only look good together but are both amazing people. Steve has offered Margie and I some very helpful advice when it comes to our shows. Kelly is amazing behind the bar as we DJ, and does so much to help so many others. My friend Kelly (blushes) always has a smile for those who need it. She has a caring heart that can be seen in her work with the victims of child abuse and their families. Finally, my friend Travis. I met him when we both were in a club I was working at. Immediately we clicked and discovered my much our values aligned. Working together we not only helped a lot of people, we started a movement.
Even the Post Office, as dark and dreary as it can be, has offered some unique friendships for me. My friends John, Tom and Don all have been great to have in my life. From exploring culinary offerings to pondering the cinema, they have always brought a great deal into my world. My friends Jim and Tony are both great people. Tony and I have discussed music and Jim and I have went on road trips to experience great music. We even appear in a music video together. My friend Laura adds much needed comic relief to a serious atmosphere. Her wit and humor make the day more enjoyable. My friend Chris and I always have a lot to discuss. Whether that be just finding the humor in our work day or discussing some Native topic, it is always a better day when Chris is at work.
Then there are the people I really have close and lengthy conversations with. You have heard me mention my friend Nick before. We meet for coffee, although not nearly enough. We never know what the subject will be, but the conversation is always deep and thought-provoking. My friend Shannon has been in my life for a rather long time. We share many amazing deep conversations. We have many of the same literary tastes, love nature and both have a fondness for sunsets. We actually refer to each other as soul-friends, because ‘friend’ seems like to shallow of a term. My wonderful sister Michelle. Although we found each other late in life, we have made up for lost time. We have shared many great adventures and always have each others back. My ‘brother from another mother’ Russ is one person I really treasure. Friends since I was 13, we have been in bands together, we have been in trouble with the law together. We have seen each other through heartache and loss. We do our best to talk every week. When we do, something great always comes out of it. Although he was smart enough to move away to a warmer climate we still travel to meet each other.
Then there is my mother. She may never forgive me for putting her picture in here, but I couldn’t leave her out. We have developed a tradition of taking walks and exploring nature together. What amazing adventures we have had including getting stuck in the rain several times at my favorite state park. Speaking of which, every year we attend the state fair together. We have so much fun it would be hard to explain. Whether it is a fun dinner out or in, or even a game night, I am always thankful and grateful for times with my mom.
Last and certainly not least, is my best friend, my beautiful lady, my Margie. My great treasure. Together we have faced some of the hardest situations life can throw at a couple. We have overcome or are overcoming all of them with love. She is always there acting silly and making me laugh. She has brought into my life her fun-loving aunt and uncle, her wonderful children and grand children as well as many friends. Through her I have found a whole new way to love foods I didn’t even think I liked, new ways to enjoy the holidays, and ways to relax and be yourself. Most of all, Margie has shown me how to be a better man and a better person. It is because of her love that I am always looking to push myself to improve. She is always making me proud with her artist creations, the way she cares for friends and how much she loves family.
As you can see, when it comes to amazing people my life is truly abundant. I have been blessed greatly and I can imagine you are too. I invite you to share some of the amazing people you are grateful for in the comments below. Remember, if you have someone to share with in your life, you too have an amazing treasure.
Who wouldn’t want better friendships? Friendships filled with more understanding, more love and more productivity. It would be safe to say anyone reading a blog like this would. To do so we are going to take a brief look into the world of chemistry. Don’t let that scare you. We are going to keep this very simple. In school chemistry was not my best subject, so nothing here will be too complex. We are going to look at one of the most basic equations of chemistry and that is water. When two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen get together, it is not just 3 molecules getting together for coffee and hanging out. In this case a fourth thing is created and that is water.
You may be asking, and for good reason, what any of this has to do with friendship. It works the same way with people. In Napoleon Hill’s timeless book Think and Grow Rich, he mentions forming what he calls a ‘mastermind group’. That is a group of different people, all with different talents, that are working towards a common goal. The author claims that when these people gather together a new person is formed. One who is the combination of the thoughts of all the people present in that group.
One of the highlights of any day for me is to share conversation with someone who shares my passion in self-improvement. I always walk away with so much more knowledge and a different perspective than I had before the meeting. In the past week, I have had the pleasure of having 2 such experiences. The first came when a friendly and wonderful fellow named Ricky offered to buy me a cup of coffee for my birthday. It was the first time the two of us had an opportunity to sit down and chat. Ricky owns a local fitness studio called Peak Physique here in West Allis, where I live. Not knowing too much about each other I was wondering how the conversation might flow. It was amazing. We both spoke at length about topics in both the fitness and self-improvement industry. I left with a great deal of new information about the world of fitness as well as a new self-improvement book to read by an author we mutually admire, Jocko Willink.
The best thing about this meeting to me was the actions taken by my new friend Ricky. I am not sure why this is, but not many adults find it easy to make new friends. This gentleman thought that it might be beneficial for us to meet and become friends. Not only was this a very astute thought, but it took some courage to reach out and put into motion. I commend and thank him for taking this action. Not only did we both make a new friend, we discovered we also shared some amazing friends in common. Jodi, whom I have had the honor of knowing for some time, teaches yoga at his gym. Curtis, the gentleman who served us coffee, as well as several compliments, was a mutual friend. I want to take a second to recognize Curtis is also a man with a brilliant mind when it comes to self-improvement and I am eagerly looking forward to sitting down to a conversation with him.
Another divine new connection I made was with a very talented journalist, Carole Meekins. She had reached out to me to inquire if I would be interested in being interviewed for the show she hosts called Positively Milwaukee. It appears on WTMJ, the local NBC affiliate. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of this show which highlights the positive aspects of the city. Carole is a well-established journalist who is amazing at what she does. I was excited and honored to be part of this show. Little did I know, that would be just the tip of the iceberg of what I would get out of this meeting. I spoke on the phone with Carole a few days ahead of the planned day of filming to exchange information. I learned that not only was she a talented interviewer but had a warm and thoughtful personality. She was well read in the field of self-improvement and we talked for a good while about different authors and speakers we were familiar with.
The day of filming arrived and we shared some more great conversation. I hope this is also the beginning of a great friendship. It has always been my goal to host my own television show interviewing people and I cannot thank Carole Meekins enough for the opportunity to be a part of a show that displays how to do this better than any show I have watched in recent memory. From my new friendship with Carole I have gained a few different resources to explore as well as a renewed passion for exploring my dream of finding a medium in which to explore my desire to interview and uncover the beauty in all of the amazing people that surround us every day.
If you are thinking that you might like to establish a friendship with someone new, I encourage you to pursue that friendship. Both parties will walk away with far more than they started with. It seems comical to me that children seem far more adept at making friends than adults. If you need a little trick that might make it easier, I have one for you. As you are thinking about asking someone new out for a cup of coffee, a drink or just a great conversation, think of how you would feel knowing someone finds you valuable enough to want to pursue a friendship. You will never know the gifts hidden inside someone’s soul until you choose to unwrap them with friendship.
This is me holding a copy of my book during a video shoot for a position I am applying for. As you can see I am also wearing the amazing smiley face shirt that my lovely Margie bought for me. The attention to happiness is not only for the video I was shooting, but it is also because I believe my journey with coronavirus is almost at an end.
Tragically, I heard the news was not so good for a different local family. A young lady lost her battle with this virus. It really touches home when someone in your community loses their life to the very condition you also have. I am so grateful my symptoms did not develop into something more severe. As I forge ahead with finding out the details on where I go from here I will make sure to keep all of you posted.
The health department told me I would be cleared 3 days after displaying no symptoms. My primary care doctor has cleared me to go back to work on the 31st. It is strange that there is no actual test to clear you. Instead we are to rely on time elapsed since my symptoms were first shown (14 days) and since I last experienced them (3 days). I have also learned that 2 of the countries who displayed some of the lowest mortality rates with the virus (Germany and South Korea) have done so through extensive testing. On a personal level, I find that our country being one of the wealthiest in the world has no excuse for not having more tests available. It is my sincere hope that we have all learned something very valuable with this crisis.
On a professional level, I hope we have learned to take care of health care workers by making sure they have the right protective equipment and medicines they need to diagnose and treat those infected. In the same light, I hope we come to better appreciate the ‘essential’ workers such as grocery store employees, gas station workers, people involved in the shipping industry and others who still had to show up when others were at home. Next time we go out to eat or even just for a drink or cup of coffee I hope we leave a little extra tip for these folks whose income was eliminated when businesses shut down.
On a social level I hope we better appreciate the time we spend with friends. Going out for coffee with those you enjoy will become something you treasure instead of something you take for granted. Seeing the smile on a friend’s face in person and being able to give them a hug will feel more like a gift and less like something that happens every day. May we take the time to gather more often and relish those times more when we do.
On a personal level may we have come to discover, or rediscover the beauty and wonder of those we share our house with. Not only does this strengthen the bonds of our relationships, but it certainly beats being cast for a reboot of The Shining. In my quarantine with my beautiful Margie I have been reminded what an amazing cook she is. I have enjoyed some of the most tasty dishes as she helped me regain my strength. I also found so many different ways in which I find her beautiful to me. Just last night she demonstrated what talent she has at drawing. This is something she rarely has time for. Even the frustration of having to maintain ‘proper social distance’ from each other made us appreciate how much we enjoy each others touch.
I hope when we look back on this period of time years from now we remember the many things we learned. It is my sincere hope we also reflect on the appreciation it gave us for the many things, and people, that we might have taken for granted. It has taught me that even having a potentially deadly virus can be turned into the blessing of helping others if you approach it the right way.
We begin this series with an idea that came to me as we were doing our 30-day Gratitude challenge. This idea will take a small amount of work, but the return on your effort will bring you closer relationships, happiness and a surprising amount of good fortune. I promised these ideas will be quick and simple but will have a big impact in your life and this first one is a great example.
Out of all the areas of our life, our relationships with others have the biggest impact on our life. It can be our greatest source of joy if we take care of our relationships. It can also be the biggest area of stress and sadness if we do not take care of them. Today’s idea will make sure in about 5 minutes a day we will breathe new life into every relationship we have. We will do so by increasing the closeness in that relationship and make the other party feel great about themselves. By the end of 30 days we will have a group of friends that are closer than ever and it will only take 5 minutes of effort a day on our part.
Does this sound like an impossible task? It is easier than you think and the results will surprise you. Let me off a word of encouragement and instruction as we begin. If you forget to do the exercise on a particular day, fear not. You can either do two the next day or extend the 30 days an extra day. We all forget or have tough days. If you do have a tough day, spending 5 minutes doing this exercise may help turn that day around. Now that we have covered the paramters, let us get into what we will be doing in these 30 days.
Before your 30 days are set to begin, there are a few things you will need to get ready. Go to your local store (Walmart, Meijer, Kroger or any other store will do) and pick up a box or two of thank you cards. These cards do not need to be fancy. Then compile a list of those people in your life who mean a lot to you. You will not need all 30 in order to start. Just a few will do. In this world of Facebook and email, it may surprise you how few addresses of your friends you know. If you do not have their address, just ask. Tell them you are going to send them a little something. Some people may need reassurance you are not going to sell them anything or put their name on a mailing list. This has nothing to do with either of those things.
Perhaps you have put together what we are about to do. Every evening you are going to write out one card thanking a person for what they bring into your life. You will address it and drop it in the mail the following morning. It is true we can do this via messanger, text or email, but in a world where those are all too common, an actual letter will help you stand out.
Instead of the usual bills and advertisement that we recieve in the mail, imagine opening a simple thank you card letting you know you are appreciated and why. How would that affect your day? How would it change your feelings towards the person who sent it to you? Now multiply that times 30 people, imagine the impact that would have on your life. This does not have to be limited to friends and family. You could send a thank you card to the staff at the local coffee shop you write at. You could send one to the teller at the bank that always provides service with a smile. You could pass a card to a coworker that makes your days on the job a little more bearable. The possibilities are endless.
At the end of 30 days you will have warmed the hearts of 30 people that share life with you. This will lead to 30 more smiles. It will help bring joy to 30 people when they think of you. It will help 30 different people understand they make a positive difference in the lives of others.
How do you think this will change your life? Your relaltionships will improve. Strangers will become friends. Friends will become like brothers. By taking merely 3 to 5 minutes to write a simple thank you card and listing some of the reasons you appreciate them, it will affect their lives and yours positively. I look forward to hearing who you send cards to and how it impacts their life and yours.
Tomorrow we will look at a way to magically transform your most important relationship in a mere 30 days.