Archive for November, 2009

Okay, so we’re in what the media is referring to as an economic downturn, and being grateful may seem challenging as we sit at the Thanksgiving table this year. So, consider this:

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. ~ H.U. Westermayer

A shift of perspective has often, if not always changed my actions. So, while we’re being thankful, don’t forget this one:

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.
~John E. Southard

Let’s make gratitude a habit. I’ll start by counting my blessings . . . and recount daily.

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Years ago, as I handed the gavel to the next president of a state professional association, I remember thinking, Wow, if I took office today instead of a year ago . . . now I could be an effective leader! Well, of course! It’s because of the experience – the challenges, struggles, tough choices and teamwork I became more capable a year later.

Professional speaker, consultant, educator, coach and author, Chris Clarke Epstein states it brilliantly:

Talking, thinking and reading about a thing is not DOING the thing!

And, not DOING the thing will never improve your competency with it! Too often, we want to be capable, skilled or have the attributes now that only experience can teach us. So, how about if we stop wishing to be a better (you fill in the blank) and go DO the thing we want to improve.

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I’m still amazed at the moments I hesitate to do something, even though I know the action will move me forward. Or, when I’m overcome with frustration when a deliberate, purposeful act doesn’t deliver the result I intended. Then I read:

I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that didn’t work out. That’s when I’ve really learned. – Carol Burnett

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.
– Colin Powell

To think that you are not going to fail is an illusion. Fail faster. You will only be closer to what you want. – UNKNOWN

See a pattern? So, I tell myself: Go ahead, fail forward . . . learning is awaiting!

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My dad turns 90 this week. Although my siblings and I assist with 24 hour care, he still takes responsibility for mom who is 87 and severely strickened with Alzheimers. As I observe, experience, work, struggle and serve, I am defined. We constantly face tough choices, harder tasks and gut-wrenching moments. None of us are always certain that we’re doing the “right” things. We simply do and move on, enjoying the brief moments of joy when mom actually says, Goody-goody, I love you, beautiful or thank you, the only four utterances left in her vocabulary.

The more I look around and listen, the more I realize that I’m not alone. We are all facing choices that define us. No choice. However messy is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. We all, at our own age, have to claim something, even if it’s only our own confusion.
– Sabrina Ward

Where do you observe life unfolding? How do you experience the moments life serves up? How do those experiences teach you to be in the world? Good, bad, right or wrong, we’re all exposed to life in action on a daily basis. Paying attention helps some lessons stick more than others.

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