Archive for September, 2009

You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost” [Martha Graham].

Look at you standing out there with your individual style. Choosing your own ideas. Living a life that fits. Checking “none of the above” when the answers provided don’t suit you.

Some days you want to color with orange. Other days, purple. Some days you don’t want to color at all. You’re unique, unusual, rare. You’re extraordinary. You’re valuable!

But then there are days when you let the voices of small minds drown out your colors and the ideas of malcontents dilute your brilliance.   When you grant others the freedom to mock your ideas, erase your creation, and minimize your mission.

It’s important to understand “there has never been anyone quite like you and there never will be. Consequently, you can contribute something  . . . that nobody else can.  There is power in your uniqueness — an inexplicable, unmeasurable power . . . a magic” [Gordon MacKenzie].

Each time you give someone permission to silence your voice and  block your belief, a little piece of your magic floats away.

When you lower your guard and allow the status quo to become your daily standard, your ability to influence is diminished.

Don’t throw away your ideas, your plans, your dreams . . . don’t throw yourself away by becoming a picture painted by someone else.   As Gordon MacKenzie said,

You have a masterpiece inside you . . .

One unlike any that has ever been created or ever will be.

And remember:

If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece,

it will not get painted.

No one else can paint it.

Only you.

You’ve allowed too many people to spray graffiti on your canvas. It’s time to clean it off and sketch out your own picture.

Someone out there has been waiting for you to begin painting. They want to see who you are and hear what you have to say.

Don’t listen to the critics. [Who cares if they don’t like the colors you choose?] Be what you feel. Celebrate your uniqueness. Grab the brush and start creating!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins” [Jim Stovall].

I love the word encourage.  It means to inspire with courage, to embolden, reassure [dictionary.com].

Some days our courage soars like a kite on a windy fall  day.  Nothing is impossible. All the answers are “Yes!” Our detractors fall silent as we confidently march by.

Other days our courage seems to run away and hide as we doubt our best efforts. The voices of our critics are unbearably loud as they question our actions. It is during those uncertain times when it becomes necessary to borrow courage from those around us. We must rely on their inspiration and confidence to show us the way, to blow into our sails and propel us forward.

Regardless of the title or position, everyone appreciates a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, or a note of reassurance. We can inspire in many ways, but perhaps the most profound way is by living a courageous life.

The simple act of showing others it can be done — it should be done — it must be done — encourages action!

You have a story to tell.
Someone to encourage.
A future to build.
A generation to inspire.

Through your actions and attitude, effort and encouragement, you plant seeds of inspiration that mature into forests of courage.

“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity” [Keshavan Nair].

Live a life of courage, so that others will be inspired to be courageous, too!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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“In all things, it is better to hope than to despair” [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe].

I don’t know about you, but I am full of hopeful anticipation. It’s not that I can point to any one particular thing and say, “This is why I believe events will turn out for the best.”  But there is a feeling that something interesting waits just over the next hill. That if I keep moving, I’ll be rewarded for the effort.

It could be that I have an affinity for Autumn. Something about the bright blue skies, brisk mornings, and colorful landscape amazes me year after year. An energy explodes as the earth prepares for a season of slumber. Nature is not fearful of winter’s impending harshness, but looking forward with hopeful anticipation for spring to arrive and another life cycle to begin.

A few years back a movie hit the big screen entitled, Hope Floats. It was based on a woman whose life is beset  by numerous personal crises,  U-Turns, and painful detours. Through it all, the character’s interminable hope keeps her going. I enjoyed the story, and found the title especially memorable.

I imagine hope as one of those inflatable swim tubes we used to wear as children. Do you remember them? They would fit snug around our waist, and kept us safely above the water, regardless of who or what was splashing and trying to pull us under.

I think hope serves the same purpose in our lives.  As long as we hold on to hope, regardless of what is going on around us, we’ll be able to safely float above troubling circumstances. We won’t be pulled under by anxious circumstances that attempt to topple us.

Hope doesn’t necessarily change today’s events; it changes you, your viewpoint, your attitude.  Expecting that events will turn out for the best gives you the stability and confidence to stay in the game, which is critically important, because “there’s only one thing that can guarantee your failure, and that’s if you quit” [unknown].

I don’t think hope springs from external forces and conditions. I don’t believe you can find true contentment through a person or purchase or accomplishment. I think hope is something you create for yourself.

Hope is produced when you control what you can control, take action whenever possible, and decide to enjoy the journey.

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope” [unknown].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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A while back, I came across what I now know as the Paradoxical Commandments.  They were written by Kent M. Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders.  Over the years, they have inspired me and I have shared them with others. Today, I would like to share them with you.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do — in any case, anyhow, anyway.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian” [Dennis Wholey].

Some things just don’t make any sense. Try as you might, you will be unable (with or without a degree in Rocket Science) to correlate the action with the response.

You play by the rules, obey the signs, turn off your cell phone, and patiently wait your turn while someone else stretches the truth, pushes through the crowd, demands their way, ignores the warning, and finishes ahead of you.

How does this even make sense in a civilized society? Why do we unfairly reward bad behavior and overlook good people who play by the rules?

The simple fact is that life is full of bullies who wear us down with whining and complaining and shell games.  They badger us with unrealistic expectations, convince us with fictional stories of entitlement, and prey on us with tales of woe.

And when they don’t get their way, they shamelessly trample on, over, or through every person, principle, department, and regulation to get their hands on the prize.

When you encounter bullies, you cannot afford to sit quietly, allowing them to plunder and pillage, hoping that others will see and reward your goodness! You must take action, speak up, rock the boat, cross the line, ignore the warnings, and do whatever you can to stop their selfish actions.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.”
~Edmund Burke

Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. Being a good person just isn’t enough. And sitting quietly rarely wins  battle.

Courage is demanded.
Action is unavoidable.
Confrontation is required.

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away timid adventurers” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Be your authentic self. Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be.

Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else.

Give yourself permission to be your authentic self” [Dr. Phil].

Is that you behind those beliefs the pundits spout on television and underneath the fashions from Fifth Avenue?  It’s hard to see you. You look like everyone else. You sound like someone else. You’ve literally become one in a million.

Is that really you?

Or some giant hairball of other people’s ideas and views, likes and dislikes, prejudices and pretend?  Was it just easier to allow your life to become a conglomeration of socially acceptable “stuff,” instead of learning how to create an authentic self?

We all know that the original of anything is worth more than its copy. Compare the values of diamonds with Cubic Zirconia, antiques with reproductions, first editions with second printings, signed copies with mass-printed posters.

The same is true with people. When you practice original thinking and genuine creativity, your value and self-confidence increases. When you stop reflecting other people and begin painting with your own brush, you’ll understand the true value and beauty of keeping it real.

Authenticity is a daily practice.

Living authentically means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest,
to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;

exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made
of light and darkness, strength and struggle;

and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging
that can only happen when we let go of who we are supposed to be
and embrace who we are. [
Brene Brown]

Isn’t it time to shed the mask, open the window, be comfortable with ourselves, create from our imagination, walk in our own shoes, and live who we really are?

Whatever you are, be an authentic one!


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It isn’t your problems that are bothering you. It is the way you are looking at them” [Epictetus].

It’s hanging around out there. It may be far off in the distance or it might be closer than you can believe.  The problem, decision, confrontation. That “thing” which will change your life as you know it, into something unknown and unproven.

You see today with its comfortable routine. You see the line in the sand. What you cannot see is the other side. It’s the unknown lurking in your future that causes concern, produces panic, starts the worrying.

The questions haunt us as we sleep, greet us each morning, and hang around throughout the day.

What is it like over there? What if? What will I do? Why me? Am I strong enough? Where will I find the answers? What will they think? What if I fail?

What if you were to take control
by creating your own set of questions?

What if this is the best thing for me? Could this be my opportunity to soar? Will I find my passion? Who will I have the opportunity to meet? How can I help? What new adventures will I find? Why not me? What if this is my time to succeed?

Same future issue. New outlook.

I just have to share a quote I read by skateboard mogul, Tony Hawk, in the October 2009 issue of Entrepreneur magazine.  (At age 41, Hawk is the highest-paid action sports athlete, according to Forbes, with estimated earnings of $12 million last year.)

“My definition of success is doing what you love. I feel many people do things because they feel they have to, and are hesitant to risk following their passion.

“And obviously, yeah, it’s hard right now.

“But maybe there’s a chance that if you get laid off, maybe that’s your saving grace, your chance to restart.”

On the other side of fear you will find your worst imaginable scenario or a chance to restart. The opportunity to live the nightmare or live the dream. The choice is yours.

On the other side of fear your destiny is waiting. It’s time to start asking different questions.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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Blah, blah, blah.  Blah — blah, blah” [Ralph Waldo Emerson].

“So, what do you think of my blog?”

I asked that question recently, just to see what kind of answers I would receive. The bogus Emerson quotation I opened this post with was a verbatim response that someone shared.  Which, by the way, caused the entire lot of us to collapse in a fit of giggles.

Some people believe that all of the pondering, the wise quotes from philosophers long gone, and the positive affirmations from success gurus are fantastic.

Others think they’re okay, if you like that sort of thing.

Some days, you tell me the topic resonates, the thought inspires, and the calls to action prompt a response and strengthen your resolve.

Other days, though, it’s too much!  The ideas are vanilla, or they are too surreal, or too sugary. It’s all dessert and no protein! You need something you can sink your teeth into.

Maybe, it’s just that each one of us takes away what we need for that particular day. Today might not be an Emerson type of day, maybe what you needed was Mark Twain or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Robin Williams.

Perhaps, what you were hungry for was confidence or contentment or courage, and I served up imagination, potential or responsibility.  No worries.

Check back tomorrow to see what’s on the menu. I bet you’ll find something that will satisfy.  If not specifically for you, then something you can take away to share with someone else.

Keep reading, I’m sure you’ll find something that lights a spark. I do every single day!

“Be yourself.
Above all, let who you are,
what you are
what you believe,
shine through every sentence you write,
every piece you finish.”
~ John Jakes ~

I guess today was a John Jakes kind of day. Thanks for stopping by!

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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I’m starting with the man in the mirror.
I’m asking him to change his ways.
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself and then make a change.”
[Lyrics, Man in the Mirror]

Not my responsibility.

Not in my job description.

Sorry, can’t (translate: won’t) help you.

Don’t have the time.

Just following orders.

Not my problem.

Live with it.

Because I said so.

Somebody should do something.

How about you? Why don’t you become the somebody who does something? Why don’t you commit to becoming the change you want to see in the world? [Mahatma Ghandi].

The person who shows the way, picks up the trash, lightens the load, volunteers, invests in others, speaks up, spends the time, offers to go the extra mile.

The leader who sets the standard, makes the time, leads by example, empowers, encourages.

The friend who is available, listens, comforts, advises, laughs.

When you see a gap, fill it. When you find a need, meet it. Where you discover discouragement, offer encouragement and hope.  “In helping others, we help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us” [Flora Edwards].

“I must do something” always solves more problems
than “Something must be done” [Unknown].

This change you say we need in the world, really is all about you.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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We had assumed or hoped for today to be so much more than yesterday. Isn’t it strange how we do nothing and expect different outcomes?”  [James I. Dyer]

Who did you think was going to arrive on a white horse, clean up the mess, and save the day?

Did you think your amazing life was going to arrive like a lottery check — with little effort?

That the “Future Fairy” was going to sneak into your room, while you were sleeping last night, and exchange your wearisome reality for something extraordinary?

That a call was coming that would change everything?

Were you hoping that a brightly-wrapped “surprise life” would be waiting at the breakfast table this morning?

Sorry to disappoint.
It doesn’t really work that way.

The days of childish fairy tales and happy endings and magical powers are behind us.  We are no longer banished to our castles, pretending to be powerless, forced to await rescue.

We are in control of us . . . our today . . . our tomorrows . . . our destiny.

We decide the action to take, the road to travel, the adventures to chase, the monsters to chase down.

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence.
Inaction is not only the result, but the cause of fear.
Perhaps the action you take will be successful,
perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow.
But any action is better than no action at all.”
[Norman Vincent Peale]

When the ugly dragons arrive unexpectedly, with smoke bellowing and eyes glaring, we can allow fear and insecurity and the unknown to paralyze us, or we can march confidently out to engage the adversary in battle.

It’s a mistake to wait until you feel strong, powerful, and courageous to take action.  If you do, you’ll be waiting for a long time. As Mack R. Douglas correctly observed, “Courage follows action.”

Hope for your tomorrow springs from the action you take today. Stop hiding out, wishing for a better tomorrow.

Get up off the sofa. Step out of the routine. Fight some dragons. Make the call. Ask the question. Ask again. Plant some seeds. Show some kindness. Take action. Be courageous!

“Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.
Everything you want also wants you.
But you have to take action to get it.”
[Jack Canfield]

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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