Sunday, April 29, 2012

So, What's Stopping You? Oh, That...

You can create a personal world of wonderful experiences. You can laugh and run and jump and play. You can help and serve and share and lead. Yes. You can do these things. You might have a physical disability that prevents you from doing some of the more active processes, but no matter. You can be of value to this world, to your community. Unless...

You're feeling sorry for yourself.

Turns out, self pity is the Number One Block to almost every good thing you would want in your life. From powerful relationships to an exciting professional life to profound and meaningful service; from a heathy body to a heathy mind to a grateful spirit. Everything.

How do you turn your sorry state around? It's not especially easy, but it is worth the effort. Here's how to begin:

First, make a commitment to stop complaining...about everything, including yourself. Nasty habit, complaining.

Second, end criticism in all its forms. Difficult? You bet. Pity parties thrive on criticism, do they not? 

Finally, take your mind off yourself and put it on others. Make the decision to be a world server. Open your heart and mind to all the amazing possibilities for service that are available in your community. Why? Because when you're involved in service, you don't have as much time to sink into misery. Right?

This is just a beginning. But with practice and commitment, you will see your entire outlook brighten, your relationships thrive, and your life become the joy you want it to be. You deserve it. 

See? You're feeling better already!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Give Me Your Poor, Your Tired, Your Huddled Masses, Yearning To Breathe Free...

Does the title of this post sound familiar? It should. It's from the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. So, with that in mind, I share with you this wonderful quote from Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, The Christian Left (Click directly on the quote to bring up a larger viewing):

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(From the poem at the Statue of Liberty by Emma Lazarus)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Miracle Called Laundry: A Story of Determination

I have an old friend who was severely wounded in Viet Nam. He lost the use of his arms and legs. Gradually over the years, he regained about 65% usage. One day, as he was gathering his clothes to do laundry--first time in 15 years--his sister said, "Oh, Jim, let me help you with that." He said, "No, no. Even doing the laundry is now a luxury I don't want to miss." I guess it all depends on one's perspective. 

I still tear up a little when I think of Jim. He died about two years ago and the last thing he said to me was, "Life is worth it, even if you only get a portion of it."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Counting the Miracles...

We often miss the blessings and wonders that surround us in any given moment. Not me!

Nonprofits: Monitoring Your Online Traffic

This morning, through LinkedIn, I received this informative article. Here's hoping it will be of service to you and your organization. Click on the title.

3 Online Traffic Measures All Nonprofits Should Track

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Executive Ego: Is It Standing In Your Way?

To lead is to serve; otherwise, why bother? 

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality; The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor . . . A friend of mine characterized leaders simply like this: 'Leaders don't inflict pain; they bear pain.'" Max De Pree

Sometimes we get to the corner office by stepping on toes. Most times, not. When we do get there by less that honorable or cooperative means, we usually lose the respect of our colleagues. And rightly so. There is a much better way.

  •       Get a grasp on how your relationships with those in your organization affect both your own and the company’s success.
  •       Meet informally with your colleagues more often.
  •       Let it be known that you can be contacted for advice and, more important, support.
  •       Develop a strong relationship with one major member of each area or department that comes under your leadership.
  •       Focus more on your people rather than on tasks.
  •       Forge connections with key people outside your organization but within your industry.
  •       Participate in community activities and events to connect with other leaders; build important alliances.
Servant leadership is not just a nice idea; it is the only way to create the kind of organization that can be successful in the 21st century. And it will always be the best policy to make the best connections with those in your charge.

"Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they concentrate on the constituent. . . Leaders serve a purpose and the people who have made it possible for them to lead . . . . In serving a purpose, leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart. Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks."

James Kouzes and Barry Posner 
Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Managing Your Volunteers: A Better Way

If you're involved in volunteer management, on any level, this article may be of real value...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Guy In The Sky: How The World Is Serving You, Even If You Don't Notice

Look around. What do you see? Look again. You may be surprised...

"The world does not require so much to be informed as to be reminded." Hannah More

Have you ever been to Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon? It's a true treat, even in this day of Kindle, iPads, and SmartPhones. I know that other cities have their bookstore prides and joys as well, like the Tattered Cover in Denver, for instance. But Powell's is a major tourist attraction. One does not visit Portland without making the trip to Powell's. Otherwise, the visit to this fair city is incomplete.

One day, not long ago, I was browsing through a section on the 2nd floor, next to the large picture windows. I looked out over 11th Avenue, watching the traffic ease its way toward Burnside Street, the major east/west artery that divides Portland into north and south sides.

Then, for some reason my attention was drawn upward. Across the street is a building about 10 stories high. At about the 7th floor level, I spotted a window cleaner on a scaffold that was hanging over the edge from the top. It looked precarious; I got just a little jittery. There was enough of a breeze to create some movement; it swung just enough to make it look like an amusement park ride.

"What if that thing came loose? The young man would not survive the fall," I mused.

The Bill of Rights: The Most Important Information You'll Learn--Or Relearn--Today!

The Bill of Rights: The Most Important Information You'll Learn--Or Relearn--Today!

Separation of church and state? The right to bear arms? Freedom of speech? Next time someone tells you something about the U.S. Bill of Rights, tell them you know a thing or two. Here is a link to the entire list, presented in an easy to read format. This list is what you've said you stand for: