Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lessons Learned from Loss

 

On Friday, February 26, 2021, after our 2021 American Heart Association Go Red for Women Lunch-In virtual event, I said hello to my husband as I picked up Michael from Tampa General Hospital after he recovered for a couple of days after his transplant donation surgery.

Later that day, a call came through to me that my father's heart rate had dropped into the 20s.

While Michael progressed each day, my father received a pacemaker through a cardiologist near where he lived, and unfortunately, did not progress each day, and on Monday, April 12th, at TGH, under excellent, attentive care, we said goodbye to him as he took his last breaths.

Over the past year, Michael and I have had two dear friends lose their young sons, we have both lost our fathers, and we both donated kidneys.

In attempting to process through these experiences, we hope our friends have found comfort, our dads are in heaven together laughing about how the last time the four of us golfed together at Copperhead, they did, in fact, beat us (and I am talking smoked us on the links) for the first time, and, we hope the two people who now have a new lease on life with their third kidneys make the most of every moment.

Life isn't always what we anticipate, and yet life is filled with memories and opportunities to participate in it, and yes, even in challenging times, embrace it. 

May all of us feel that way as we recall what was likely a memorable year in its own way for each of us. Some lessons learned from loss include:
  1. Be grateful for what we have or had versus hateful for what we don't have or lost.
  2. When someone dies, share condolences and yet do NOT ask "What happened?" or if someone shares a loss with you that impacts you, too, be mindful not to dump your grief on that person.
  3. If someone is grieving, however that grief happens is theirs, and it is right and best for them.
  4. If someone shares a "Sorry for your loss" with you when you have a loved one who passed, and they knew that person, too, say "Thank you, and sorry for your loss, too", as they lost someone as well.
  5. It's never too late to share your condolences...not ever...just don't apologize for the timing and make it about you - let it stay about the loss and your support.
  6. Whatever you have lost is not the same as what another has lost. You can sympathize and empathize, yet nobody ever understands your loss exactly, and that is okay - just let it be.
  7. Every bit of support and love, prayer, flowers, cards, and well-wish or fond memory offered is/are impactful, felt, and appreciated.

Love and loss go hand and glove with memories and smiles. Loss is loss, and yet sometimes loss leads to many moments of sharing and recalling good times...on some days, so choose to say hello to this, your next phase after loss...



Thursday, April 15, 2021

Positivity with Purpose, Please

There are "Be positive" and "Stay positive" messages abound, right? And, often, they come from me in my daily tips and workday videos. So what gives?

What is with all of this positivity?

Well, being positive for others is not being positive. That is being nice or compliant or phony.

Being positive with purpose is all about you first, and absolutely, the impact on others may follow!

What is the difference - the REAL difference?

Being positive for others keeps you quiet when you want to speak, and keeps you laughing when you want to exit the conversation. REAL positivity is about:

R - Reflecting on what you have and where you are and being appreciative of it all

E - Engaging in supportive self-talk and being your own best cheerleader

A - Approaching situations, people, problems, and opportunities with the belief that there is a solution, fix, or answer to move forward successfully

L - Leaning into growth even as there are misses and mistakes along the way

When you are a REAL positive person, you are not simply shining to get by, you are shining through and above situations with purpose. The purpose is YOU, and your well-being, centering, and success.

There is no purpose more powerful and positive than your own happiness.

This type of positive effort is from within that stretches beyond your realm and often has a good impact and lasting effect on others, too! How real is that?


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Lesson Learned from Kindness Encounter(s)

 While I am happy to be a part of many groups and organizations, it is interesting to see what people will promote or devote time to online.

One of the communities I am in focuses on KINDNESS. Oh, that is right up my alley, so it was exciting to get invited to be connected there!

With everything happening in the world, where it seems like some people are more concerned with hoarding than being considerate, it seemed this group would be a super reprieve for these "odd days".

I shared in that private group that my new hashtag is #KindnessNeedNotBeQuarantined and posted the hashtag there with a story about a trip to Costco and being nice to one another.

Someone took a shot at that by posting that I was taking jobs from workers by moving the carts out of the way in the parking lot. I thought, like I typically do, that she had the right to her view, and opted not to reply. It made me sad, though, as this person who was approved and/or invited in, was so quick to attack, and so fast to abandon kindness.

What I learned there was that some people believe kindness or being nice or considerate is ONLY the way they define it. Sadly, they are being judgmental, and in effect, not at kind in their ways.

So, please, let's be kind, even if that means not agreeing or not responding. After all, kindness and judgment are not adjacent, they are opposing mindsets...and kindness guides growth where judgment simply limits!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Removing the un from unLUCKY!

During these times of feeling uncertain, uneasy, and even unlucky in situations, scheduling, and even in life, in general,

make the most of your opportunities through the use of LUCKY-ness, meaning:

L - Limiting negativity and supposition,

U - Understanding your need for rest and rejuvenation (and honoring it),

C - Creating a community that supports one another,

K - Keeping a perspective on what IS going well and how to maintain it,

Y - Yielding not to the temptation of panic and paranoia.

When you own the unLUCKY, you can own the LUCKY, and therefore, remove the "un" in the way you handle your path and position!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Lessons Learned: The Outcomes of Kindness

"I have days of self-doubt, but I think the kindest thing I can do to myself is accept where my body is at."
~Geri Halliwell

Kindness is not necessarily rooted in niceness.

Being nice means we don't want to rock the boat and do not want to make anyone uneasy or at odds. Niceness has its place at times.

Kindness means we take in, stand up, and present ideas with grace, consideration, and perspective. There is rarely a time when kindness does not have its place.

A smile can be both nice and kind.

Biting one's tongue when frustrated or uncomfortable can seem nice, and it is not kind to oneself or to the relationship.

Please know, this is not a war on niceness, this is a campaign for kindness...

Having become a Kindness Attendant for Kindleigh's worldwide Kindness Community, sharing about kindness in posts and tips, speaking on the kindness impact/effect, and now, facilitating "Kindness as a Leadership Trait" in formal leadership programs at schools and in businesses, there have been a lot of lessons learned, including:

  • Kindness is not a soft-skill, it is a foundational skill
  • Kindness can be challenging, and people who are kind are not void of frustration or disappointment
  • How people kindly process through difficulty and rejection and present it through kindness, is centering to them (and others)
  • Kindness can be a born trait of a personality, AND it can be learned
  • People are rarely kind to themselves and when we are not kind inward, we are not likely to be genuinely kind outward
  • If we are frustrated or drained by our kind acts, it is not genuine kindness, it is often done out of obligation, guilt or a desire to be perceived as "a good person"
  • Kindness, when mistaken as a weakness, makes people feel like they have to defend this strength
  • Kindness is to be shared with others not for what they do with it, rather for how one believes it can impact a person or situation
  • Kindness "muscles" may not be found on a medical evaluation of a body, and yet they exist in smiles and head nods and genuine embraces, and when exercised, the kindness "muscles" flex and grow
  • The lasting effect of kindness on oneself and on others is measurable and there is much science to support it

Kindness is to be honored, considered, and shared freely without strings or quid pro quo. Kindness is all about you and your impact versus others and how they accept or deny it or you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Power of Positivity

"Positivity, confidence, and persistence are key in life, so never give up on yourself."
~ Khalid

Over the years, at various times, positivity has been seen as a strength, and at other times, positivity has been viewed as a weakness.

Trends are intriguing and often fleeting.

This is not about an approach to "try", rather, it is about the purposeful effort to be optimistic and realistic while working through situations and with people in a positive manner a human being and as a leader (of self and/or others).

Positivity in this case, and hopefully in all cases, is only worthwhile and effective if it is sincere, from a place of betterment and a forward-thinking approach to whatever is at hand.

With that in mind, the following 10 positive approaches to life and leadership, ways to STOP and replace with a GO instead, are ways to enhance you and your approach to your relationships and engagements:

10 - Stop the “fake it ‘til you make it”, Go for “Make it about right now ‘til you make it to the next day or situation or person”

 9 - Stop attempting to please everyone, Go for enjoying life and being YOUR best

 8 - Stop the “Let me know what I can do…”, Go for the specific offer of what you are offering to do

 7 - Stop the posting of data, Go for sharing of interesting information with how it can impact others positively

 6 - Stop the disappointment based on assumptions, Go for setting expectations with others to know where you stand and where you can anticipate going

 5 - Stop making people feel defensive, Go for creating conversation by using What and How questions in place of Why questions

 4 - Stop starting emails and updates with “I”, Go for being about the audience, using BASICs (Because, Appreciating, Since, In order to, Considering/Respecting, all with a smile)

 3 - Stop being jealous, Go for being happy for the other person

 2 - Stop gossiping after the fact or behind someone's back, Go for gathering and addressing what is at hand directly with who is involved

 1 - Stop wondering how will this look to others, Go for thinking about what feels best in the moment and what is best for the situation

When you are true to these positions and commitments, your positivity becomes who you are and what your personal being and brand represent as a part of your demeanor and part of your approach to life and business over a strategy or positioning.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Lessons Learned from "Hacking" Life!

Being resourceful, scrappy, and even creative was not new in 2020, and yet being restrictive in where I went to stay safe and keep myself challenged, or overcoming challenges was different!

From those altered situations came some ingenuity, or at least some "punting" when faced with a lack of resources or an interest in a new approach to doing or solving something. Some even reminded me of previous hacks that have become habits, and they are each worth presenting for your consumption. After all, aren't all learnings best when shared for other people's benefit?

  • LIFE HACK: Shoes smelling stinky or the linings getting misshapen? Doing 10,000 steps before sunrise for 100 days, and now a marathon of miles every week, my feet sweat, which causes both odor and wetness, and as a result, messed up shoe linings or arch supports unless you do this: Before putting on your socks, tights or shoes without socks or tights for work or for play, swipe or spray your favorite clear deodorant on your feet in order to save your shoes and keep your confidence high for removing them without odor or wetness hesitation!
  • LIFE HACK: Looking to practice a physically-distanced presentation at a podium without a podium at your remote work office for your run-throughs? While I am not a fan of using a podium, other than for a commencement address, they are making a comeback as part of safety protocols. To practice remotely, and/or in your home, use a large Amazon box, a paper ream box, or even a box from a case of bottled beer positioned length-wise, and there you go, you have a podium! Delivering that talk standing on a virtual meeting, and still no podium for notes? You can either put large print notes around the outside of your screen above the camera to keep eye contact up, or wrap the box in brown paper (available online in a roll), and put your company logo on the front, so the podium-effect carries across the on-line meeting!
  • LIFE HACK: Rough feet or hands? Having only had one professional pedicure, and no professional manicures in 2020, and still getting dressed head-to-toe for remote work each day, my hands and feet were not looking their best! The solution? Put Vicks Vapor Rub, or the generic equivalent, on in generous amounts before bed, and for your hands, use old gloves or mittens, and for your feet, use socks you no longer want, and cover them. In the morning, you will find all the little cracks diminished or gone, and once you dispose of the gloves or socks, you'll likely have the added benefit of noticing that you have clear sinuses as well! (Bonus hack is that if you are painting your own nails and/or toenails, shower with a washcloth or scrubby about an hour after the fast-dry topcoat is applied, and the excess around your fingers and toes will soften and you can quickly remove anything around the nailbed while the skin is soft.)
  • LIFE HACK: Too much gift bag to fill? I discovered this quite by accident and through my resolve when wrapping gifts in the early hours with a dwindling supply of tissue paper and leftover tablecloths from the prior week's in-home room-by-room-themed pub crawl. What to do? When you have a large gift and a large gift bag, instead of using 2 or more packages of decorative tissue paper to fill the space & cover the gift, use one Dollar Tree disposable, lined tablecloth to create a cute look while filling the bag for only a dollar!
  • LIFE HACK: At the end of your lipstick or ChapStick with some left below the surface? The lipstick I love was discontinued, and having many tubes in various places, it seemed there was a lot getting wasted when disposing of the tube with about 1/6 of it below the line of sight once the tube was fully extended yet part was below where it could not reach my lips. How to fix that pout without pouting over wasted lipstick or ChapStick? Using a cotton swab, you can scoop out the remaining lipstick or chapstick, and if you have any small container with a lid, that becomes your new container for it all, and you can use a cotton swab or your finger for applying what is now your new-found supply of lipstick or ChapStick! (Bonus hack is that you can put the lipstick, lip balm, or even sunscreen or foundation in a small contact lens holder for compact, flat storage, and carrying.)
  • LIFE HACK: Want to send flowers last minute within 2 hours? The idea of Christmas flowers following some news from a family member felt like they'd brighten that person's day, and yet it was too late to get a local florist to deliver. I love supporting local florists and do often. This day, though, I got creative by logging onto Publix (a grocery chain I knew was in the area) and selected a floral arrangement and a vase to be delivered (she had vases, so I could have skipped the vase). While there was no card with it, the process was outstanding and was less than half with tax and tip. In order to ensure the delivery was smooth, I messaged the recipient to ensure she'd be at home, and they sent a text message to check out front. When she got them, it was a beautiful exchange of surprise and appreciation for how fast that happened! I'll surely still honor the expertise of local florists in the future AND in quick turn-around times will use delivery services through grocery outlets!

The lessons learned over the past years were meant to assist you with some quick or convenient changes or considerations, and hopefully this LIFE HACK edition carried that forward with a twist. While these life hacks were new to me the first time I thought to "hack" the way shared above, I present them not for credit, for, admittedly, they could be something common that I never heard of, or they could be unique based on my experience, and either way, here's to happily hacking life and enjoying the results with some fun!


Monday, January 4, 2021

Hit Your Stride in 2021!

 "Stride forward with a firm, steady step knowing with a deep, certain inner knowing that you will reach every goal you set yourselves, that you will achieve every aim."

~ Eileen Caddy

As midnight on December 31, 2020 grew near, a lot of messaging around resolutions and "New Year, New You" began to surface, as they do each year around that time.

For some, that is encouraging. For others, that is a reminder to reflect. For others, that is daunting to think about change. For many, it is simply a forced concept of resolve due to the time of year. Regardless of how the moving from December to January typically strikes you, and regardless of the date on the calendar, or time of year, it is consistently a good time, when it is the right time for you, to focus on hitting your stride. We happen to be at the beginning of 2021, so how about it...what stride do you want to hit in 2021?

That stride, your stride, will not be hit without intention, so please consider these four phases of stride-hitting for a successful venture this year:

1) Reflect on what went well and what you want to improve in order to create awareness of where you are right now.

2) Imagine the desired state where you are going so that you can embrace the look and feel of what you want to achieve.

3) Assess the gaps between where you are and where you are going for the base for your plan for the year, which includes skills, experiences, people to engage, and more.

4) Map out milestone accomplishments with realistic wins along the way that can be recognized and celebrated as you achieve them.

5) Decide on immediate actions to take to launch the plan - from something as simple as sharing the plan for accountability to scheduling actions on your calendar to keep the momentum flowing.

6) Create habits that are well-serving to the plan such as daily activities that form a pattern and lead to consistent effort that repeats (hence making a habit), weekly check-ins on progress, monthly milestone monitoring, and other time increments for ensuring forward progress.

7) Reward yourself along the way in the ways that enhance your efforts and encourage your continued momentum. For example, if health and well-being are part of your desired state, plan and mapping out, and your actions of mindful eating and movement have become habits, reward yourself with a spa treatment over a trip to the ice cream store, so as to keep the alignment, and therefore, keep the habits reinforced.

When these seven steps are consciously and intentionally embraced, it is not about focusing on a new attitude or a new approach, it is about seeing and achieving the new stride that is hit because of you...and not the changing of a date on the calendar!