WHAT CHANGES THE WORLD

The statement above is one everybody should do their best to remember. It is one that everyone should do their best to live by. No matter what kind of leader in life we are, and trust me we are all leaders of some sort, it bears noting that what truly inspires others is not our words, but our behavior. It is even more important that our words and actions are in accord. What is your opinion of someone who constantly says one thing, but then acts in a way contrary to their words? There are lots of names we have for these people, none of which are good. What about someone who feels the need to go around and share their opinion on a topic with everyone who wasn’t even aware they wanted to listen? Again, fun titles we may bestow on these folks as well.

Think of the people who inspire you? Is it the person who is constantly telling you that you ‘should do this’ or ‘should do that’? Especially if they are not doing anything or worse doing the opposite of what they are telling you to do. Do these people inspire you? They inspire me…inspire me to do without their company. How about the people busy working on what they think is important in life? The friend that has been diligently saving and now has enough to buy themselves a new car? Certainly more inspiring than the friend who tells you that you should be saving more while they are out spending their entire paycheck at the local watering hole. How about your boss that tells you to be more dedicated to your work while he leaves early every Friday to work on his golf game? Then there is the boss who is there working when you get in and is still there when you leave. Which one would you rather work for.

The most important category that I can think of where this principle comes into play is being a parent. This doesn’t even have to be a biological parent. It can be adoptive parents, step parents, aunts, uncles, or anyone that a child may look up to. We can spend hours or longer thinking of the perfect lessons to think of for our children. In reality, only one will matter – how we live our lives. Do our children hear us saying things like, “It is no use. I will never be able to do/afford that.” or such dangerous clichĂ©s as “Rich people must have screwed people over.” What we say repetitively can be absorbed more than we think. Still, it is our example that will be picked up by children the most. We tell them to always be honest and take care of their obligations, but we are 2 months behind on the electric bill and are trying to buy more time by saying we never received the bill that is sitting on our coffee table. We tell them all people should be treated with kindness and respect but don’t say something when our friends make racist or prejudiced comments. I believe if you want to positively affect a child’s life, whether you are a parent, teacher or just an adult who has influence in the child’s life, start thinking more in terms of “What can I show this child?” instead of “What can I tell this child?”

One of the greatest things we can do is lead by our example. How we conduct ourselves does a lot more to tell the world about us than what we say. How we conduct our relationships tells the world how much we love our spouse than what we say when they are sitting next to us. How we approach our work will tell others what kind of discipline we have. Saying someone’s time is very important to us is a nice gesture, but do you think they will believe us if we are constantly showing up late to meet them? Begin to think what actions we can take to truly express our character and what is important to us. I would love to hear some of yours in the comments below.

LEARNING WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW

Last post we discussed addressing some issues we may not have known we had inherited from our family, neighborhood or other influences. It may make some people uncomfortable to think they are changing or God forbid, improving something about themselves. I get it. In today’s world it can be hard to admit we are anything less than perfect, even if it is through no fault of our own. Nobody likes to admit they have something to work on. Do you know what nearly everyone likes? Realizing they are getting better at something. It can be close to downright exciting to think you may be working on mastering something. Here is some great news, there are plenty of areas in which we can do this!

If we stop and think of the very important issues in life, how many were we taught or have we stopped to research? What do you think is important in your life? Where did you learn how to do it well? Did you ever stop to learn how to do it well? Relating to others is one of the most important skills a human can have. How well did you do in your ‘relating to others’ class in school? Do you recall when your parents sat you down and explained some of the many aspects that go into a healthy and sustainable relationship? Me neither. How about communication? The ability to both convey your thoughts, feelings and emotions to others as well as hear and understand theirs is skill that is as rare as it is valuable. How many years did you study that in school? If your education was anything like mine, that answer would be less than one. . What good is learning our alphabet and how to spell words if we are never taught how to effectively convey and use those very words.

It would seem a great deal of important subjects are left for us to learn by chance, or for far too many of us, by trail and error or not at all. The problem with this is that the stakes are far too high for most of us to learn that way. One mistake in how we relate to others can not only cost us a job, it can ruin relationships and cause emotional trauma to others, including those we truly care about. We occasionally get some instruction on interviewing to get the job we are seeking, although even that is limited. Did ever seem odd that nobody ever told us how to ask the right questions to discover if someone would be the right life partner for us? The same holds true with maintaining a healthy mental and emotional state. As far as I know, there exists very little, if any, instruction in public education on this subject. Is it any wonder, as the stresses in life continue to rise, we are seeing a host of people with mental health challenges. We were never even told how to deal with the stress that is all too prevalent in our lives.

We repeat here the axiom from the last post that fault does not equal responsibility. It is certainly not our fault we were never taught how to succeed in some of the most important areas in life. This is not a knock on our teachers and parents. They were never taught these things either. It is, however, our responsibility to educate ourselves on these very subjects. If a healthy relationship is important to us we need to learn what the components of one are and how to get them. If being able to communicate to others and have them understand you may be valuable, don’t you think it might be worth a few hours of research? How much effort is living a life with less stress and more joy worth to you? What other areas are important? Do you think being a great parent to your child is important? Do you think you may have received some bias or incomplete information on that subject growing up? Would you like to give your children the best possibility of success as they grow up?

When I share this information I hear a lot of groaning about having to dedicate additional time learning. “I spent enough time studying in school.” is a refrain I hear all too often. If that is your mindset you must then become comfortable at the thought you will not develop past the person you were when you left school. “I don’t have time.” is another answer I hear. To that I say this – it is not that you don’t have time, it is that it is not a priority for you. If I told you that you could have ten million dollars but I would need 2 days worth of your time starting tomorrow at 6am, where would you be at 5:59?

Dedicating time for study in these subjects is worth more than that ten million dollar price tag mentioned earlier, it is priceless. Being able to better understand, and even more importantly meet, the needs of your spouse? How much would you pay for that? Not feeling so stressed out at the end of every work week, or even every work day, how much would that be worth to you? You see, studying the main topics in life is like digging in a vain of solid gold. The knowledge you get can not only positively transform your life, it can do the same for lives of those you care about. Can you imagine sitting down to share topics like these with your children while at the same time listening to what concerns they may have? How valuable would that be? How about learning how to help people feel good about themselves? Would that be skill that might come in handy with the boss at the office or the one you love at home?

Here is the grand upside to all of this. The knowledge on all of these subjects is readily available and it is free. All it takes is some time and effort on our part. There are literally millions of books available in the public library system at no charge to us. There are forums, articles and experts available online with a click of a mouse. There are audiobooks we could listen to in the car, seminars we can attend, videos on YouTube we could watch while we are in line at the grocery store. There is so much information out there, in so many different forms that there is no excuse not to become an expert in any area of life that is important to us. Learning one new thing a month, which is painless to do, can give us 12 tips to a healthier lifestyle. Can you imagine incorporating 12 new things this year to improve your health? How much of an impact do you think that would have? What if we learned one new way to improve our intimate relationship a week? This is still insanely easy to do. Do you think adding 52 improvements to your relationship in a year would positively impact your love life?

There is no excuse not to begin to become an expert on the important areas of our life starting today! How important is the success of your children? How important is the happiness of the love of your life? How valuable would having extra energy and health be? Decide what is important to you and begin to study today! Your life is far too valuable not to.

WHY SHARING IS CARING 

I recall the phrase ‘sharing is caring’ from a children’s program I used to watch when i was young. It is a very good motto that still holds true. 

The problem with many adults is that we feel we have nothing to share. Often I hear people say “I would love to help more but i don’t have the time/money/resources”. There is one thing each and every one of us has that can make a huge difference – our story -.

As an author I am often asked for advice and told by people “I have always wanted to write a book”. My advice? Just do it! Again, it is at this point most people assume they have nothing to offer. Let me assure you that no matter what your story is, it will help more people than you know. 

Here are a few examples.  I have a friend is a Jewish woman who won her battle with weight loss and has a passion for health and fitness and took care of her sick mother. 

There is my friend Kelly, who is a widow and belongs to a community of people who have been through the same. She is always quick to share a smile and encouraging word with everyone she meets. How many people do you think these two people could help by sharing their story?

Now you may thinking to yourself “I don’t have such a compelling story”. That’s where i have to disagree. Maybe you have done everything wrong in life. Maybe you find yourself a slave to some addiction. Your story could serve as a warning and save the lives of countless others. 

Once a woman told me “All i have been is a mom for the last 10 years”. I was kind of taken aback. Being a good parent required lots of knowledge and learning along the way. 

Sometimes just sharing our story with people who are going through the same thing provides a feeling of comfort. I know when i am going through something challenging it feels so much better to know someone else has been through it or is going through it. 

So please, wherever you are share your story. Even if it doesn’t come out in book form (although publishing an ebook today is easier than ever). You never know who you will inspire, comfort or help heal. Everyone of us is important and everyone of us has a story that needs to be shared