Monday, December 31, 2012

365 Miles

It feels so good to complete an ambitious goal!  There is no way that I would have believed, a year ago, that I would have the satisfaction of running 365 miles this year.  Becoming a runner wasn't on my list of 2012 goals.  However, once I started running, it was only natural to establish a goal and track my progress.  Heat, cold, rain, snow, injury and early morning meetings provided ample excuses not to run.  And, attaining 95% of my goal would have been pretty good.  However, the 365 mile goal kept me motivated and moving.

It's day 365 of 2012 and I just finished mile 365!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life Lessons from Scrabble

Scrabble has always been one of my favorite board games.  And it was great to play Words with Friends on our long road trip to and from Arkansas.  Beyond the fun, playing Scrabble offers five important life lessons:

  • Make the best of what you have been given
  • Build on the foundations of others
  • Plan ahead
  • Be a good sport
  • Think creatively

Saturday, December 22, 2012


A friend was relating a conversation with a Californian about their 60 degree average days.  He was quick to point out that our Houston fall average has also been 60 degrees, but we've arrived at that average with swings from 40 to 80 degrees.  In this case, averages yield entirely different wardrobe needs.  This was just another reminder that when we are making decisions, we often need to know the supporting data, rather than just the average of the numbers.

Friday, December 21, 2012


The newest terrific book I've read, is The Noticer by Andy Andrews.  This birthday present, from a dear friend, is so rich with life lessons that I can't quit touting it to friends. It is a quick 156 page read featuring a wise old man who appears, just as needed, to provide "perspective" to young and old.
His life lessons include:

  • Other people's experience is the best teacher.
  • Whatever you focus on, increases.
  • A true friend brings out the best in you.
  • We communicate and receive indications of love as puppies, cats, goldfish or canaries.
  • Only 8% of the things most of us worry about are legitimate concerns.
  • By examining a single leaf in a forest, you can determine the season and the type of tree.  
  • Tiny differences can have huge impacts.
  • When you need to accomplish something great, you need an idea and action.
  • There is no power in intention, only in doing.
  • Choices have far greater consequences than mere mistakes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Tis the Season!

The season to
be grateful, generous,
and connected to those
who make our lives special.
Wishing you a very Merry
Christmas and joyous New Year!
Celebrate, reflect, love, laugh, express
thanks, surprise, visit, entertain, be entertained,
create, remember, plan, rest, energize and enjoy

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gifts of Christmas

Two dear friends and I walked and talked early this morning.  One friend recently lost her husband to cancer and she is now recovering from an accident that has impaired her mobility.  She confided that she wasn't in the Christmas spirit.  As much for myself, as for her, I shared that she had the true gift of Christmas in her faith, love and positive outlook.  Most importantly, she has the true gifts of Christmas, despite the reality that she is not enthusiastic about the external trappings of the Christmas season. And sharing those would be gift enough for those who matter!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Too...

Though Houston is blessed with mild winters, the rapid change in temperature from the 80s to the 40s makes early mornings seem especially cold.  It would have been easy to opt out of running this week, but I didn't.  Each sequential cold day, I made additional appropriate clothing adjustments to make the experience more positive.

Change of any sort always gives us an excuse to suspend our positive activities.  Instead of deciding that it is too (insert any obstacle) to achieve our objectives, it often helps to overcome the excuses by focusing on the positive outcome/feeling/accomplishment achieved by powering through any initial discomfort.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Decorate the Dust

It's easy to let windows of opportunity pass when we don't have the perfect solution.  As a dear friend and I were visiting about the status of our Christmas decorations, she shared a priceless tidbit.  One of her friends had realistically assessed that she was not going to complete the deep cleaning that would ideally precede decorating for the holidays.  She declared that she was going to "decorate her dust".  I applaud her spirit and action!

Executing a plan imperfectly is usually far better than planning perfectly without action.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


It's always fun to achieve a goal, delight a customer or acknowledge a deserving family member or associate.    In our hurried world, it's important to take time to say "hurrah!" when successes are achieved - those of others and our own.  The treadmill of continuous activity can be a detriment to the important celebratory pause.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Look at Who?

This week has provided the opportunity for me to be a part of two special luncheons honoring most deserving women and men.  It's always energizing to me, to celebrate the accomplishments of high achievers.  Of the many awards presented during these two very different events, one presentation was distinctively different than all others.  This very articulate, poised presenter did a lovely job of making the honoree shine.  But by also drawing significant attention inward to the credentials of the presenter, generated the feeling of "look at the honoree, but don't forget to look at me".  This most gracious honoree, not only made the presenter feel special, but also heaped obviously heartfelt appreciation and praise on so many others who were part of the honoree's success.  The "look at you" recipient garnered the respect that the "look at me" presenter was obviously craving.

In this case there was a significant contrast between the one receiving and presenting the award.  Naturally, the "look at you" recipient was far more favorably accepted than the "look at me" presenter. 

When we're honoring another, the entire focus is most appropriately on the honoree.  When we take time to selflessly honor another, the reflected praise from the recipient has far more impact than any attempts at misplaced, self-generated acknowledgement. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Questions Connect

Questions connote interest, elicit information and give us the chance to discover commonalities when we pay attention to the answers given. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Childhood-like Day

Only after I'd read the last page of the latest novel of one of my favorite authors, and reported my lazy day to family, did I realize that I had allowed myself the opportunity to enjoy a childhood day.  I did what I wanted to do, rather, than what I thought I should do.  (No r.s.v.p.s were neglected.)

I, thankfully, grew up in an era long before hyper programming was the norm.  My very wise Mother encouraged us to engage in many group activities, but also knew that unstructured time was great for the soul.

As a youngster, I loved Nancy Drew mysteries, as had my Mother, and fondly remember undisturbed opportunities to devour a new book.

Though I remain an avid reader, I rarely allow myself the opportunity to disengage, childlike, and spend most of a weekend day reading.

Often, when we embrace the things that brought great joy in childhood, we bring more joy to our adult years.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Light or Smudges

Generally when I look through windows I see light and landscape.  Today, I saw smudges as I cleaned the insides and outsides of some of our many double paned windows.  Fortunately, I'm usually looking beyond arm's reach.  Whether we're looking for light or smudges, we'll usually find what we expect to see.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Your Organization Is Mine

At a lovely charity luncheon and style show today I met a colleague's guest, and asked about her organization.  She wasn't certain that I'd know of it, but, in an everything's connected way - she works for my law school.  Suddenly, three non-practicing attorneys had the opportunity to collectively appreciate our law school education and the positive impact on our lives.

When we are eager to meet and connect with new people, we often reap unexpected  rewards.  Though I'm extremely grateful for my legal training, I'd not recently had occasion to consciously remember some of the many benefits of this undertaking.  When we take the time to understand our connections, we often realize that your affiliation is mine. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Intentional v. Unintentional

Things don't always happen as we'd hope.  Often it is unintentional neglect, oversight or ignorance of the situation that causes angst or hurt feelings.  When appropriately addressed, we can forgive and move on.  However, many damaged relationships occur because we think (or know) that the slights were intentional. 

Regardless of our assessment of how intentional or unintentional the action or inaction may be, we owe it to ourselves to assess the importance of the real or perceived unmet expectation. 

Valued relationships deserve fair assessments, the benefit of the doubt and second chances.

We all make many unintentional, and often unconscious, mistakes. 

Often, we need to accept heartfelt apologies intentionally and excuse unintentional slights as anomalies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Will Do it Myself if It is Done

There are so very many things we can choose to convince or pay others to do for us. The title of this post, "I will do it myself if it is done" sounds like the mantra of a control freak. However, it was prompted as I interacted with a CEO of a large publicly traded company on election day.  With thousands of people working for him, he has the opportunity and responsibility to delegate to others.  I was struck, however, by his encouragement to others to exercise their right to vote, with his story of
standing in line to vote early.  Though he did not voice it, I immediately realized that this, and many more important tasks, cannot be delegated to others, regardless of our role or status.

There are very many important things that we must personally do, if they are to be done, including casting our vote.  I'd never thought that discretely about voting as being an activity that the highest and lowest paid individual within an organization must do themselves, if it is to be done.

Lab tests, academic exams, hugs & kisses, photographs and original signatures are other examples of things we must do ourselves if they are to be done as intended. 

Recognizing that there are many truly personal responsibilities provides another common human denominator.  Though we all have different advantages and disadvantages, none of us can delegate a good night's sleep, firm handshake or personal appearance.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3 Generations of Connectedness

Obviously, I believe that everything is connected.  And, reinforcement of that belief continues.  Last night, I called my parents at exactly the same moment they were calling me. And a couple of minutes later, my daughter called to let me know she was safely back from her trip.  Though we all had several hours to check-in, we all chose the same few moments. 

It's fun to reinforce that connectedness is a state of mind, being and love across time zones and generations.

Monday, November 5, 2012


It's easy to overestimate the good things we do and underestimate the things that don't meet expectations.  Wish I could invent a general goal tracker that's as exacting as some of the exercise tools I use! 

Regardless of how active I think I am during the day, my electronic trackers, don't let me hedge.  These devices help me hold myself accountable for the activity level and distance I want to achieve.  Without them, I fear, I'd forget the days an early meeting precludes a run, and mentally substitute busyness for actual physical activity. 

Accountability is crucial for goal attainment.  We can monitor ourselves, be monitored by others and/or rely on tools.  The ideal formula includes all three.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's A Lot?

This morning as I was running, a neighbor I don't know, was being walked by his dog.  That's not just the way it looked - his greeting confirmed the optics of the situation.  "Do you run a lot?", he asked.  "Yes",  I answered with a big smile,  "Great day for it!"  He smiled as he and his pet tried to navigate the path and offered, "I don't often walk the dog!"

Even as I answered, yes, (I run almost every day, but not a great distance) I wondered, "What's a lot?" In the case of his intended question and my proffered answer, a lot, meant frequency.  However, it could have just as easily meant distance.

Obviously this was merely friendly neighborly banter.  However, if the subject and response had been important, understanding what is a lot would have mattered.  So much miscommunication occurs due to imprecisely conveying what we mean.  When it matters we need to remember to check for understanding.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little Irritants

On one of my morning runs this week, something didn't feel quite right.  I stopped and removed a tiny twig, about the size of a half of a toothpick, from an indentation in my running shoe. That's all it took to rectify the situation.  This incident reminded me that countless little irritations are easily eliminated.  However, we sometimes just live with them, rather than take the time to make things better.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happier at Home

Last week, I had the delightful privilege to sit next to Gretchen Rubin and to hear her share insights from her latest book, Happier at Home.  Some wonderful tidbits from her book and presentation include:

  • Holiday breakfasts are a great way to celebrate minor holidays without a lot of effort.
  • Look for ways to give and get support in relationships.
  • Know yourself and be yourself.
  • Resist happiness leeches.
  • Outer order can contribute to inner calm.
  • Control the stuff in life - assess if you need it/use it/love it.
  • Get enough sleep and adequate exercise.
  • Under react to minor problems.
  • Create a threshold ritual. As you approach your entry remember how happy and grateful you are to be home.
  • Practice nonrandom acts of kindness.
  • Act the way you want to feel.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great at 8!

My 8 year old friend inspired me yesterday!  His assertion is that he is 99% angel and 1% devil, but when he is older (11) he will be 100% angel.  My very bright young friend, with controlled ADHD, has made enormous progress in impulse control and self awareness.  He has much deserved pride in his accomplishments, and wonderfully high expectations for his future.

Think about how much more we could all achieve, if we likewise, appreciated our accomplishments and held ourselves to extraordinarily high goals!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lucky Pennies

Though I've found countless lucky pennies four fairly recent reassuring examples stand out:
  • starting the Lucky Penny Experiment
  • riding the Mega Bus
  • running my first 5k
  • sending a loved one on a journey
Regardless of the source, it is always a boost for self confidence when we receive a signal that all will be well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Energizing Activity

Everyone's unique!  Things that energize some of us, drain others.  We each need to deliberatively ask ourselves which activities energize us, and which ones drain us. 

We can't wait to participate in energizing activities.  With equal frequency, we dread and avoid those that drain us.

Though we can't avoid all unpleasant activities, we often fail to recognize that some of the things that we avoid are energizing for others.  We can dramatically increase happiness, satisfaction and energy when we actively engage others to determine who is most and least passionate about the tasks required for the team/company/organization/family to be successful. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lucky Dog!

We had a fabulous D.C. weekend with precious Julia and her wonderful friends!  After a fun-filled afternoon, we gave her the valet ticket to claim our rental car.  A gust of wind sent the ticket flying, precariously close to a sidewalk grate.  Fortunately, a very well-behaved dog caught the ticket in her mouth.  Her understanding companion gently coaxed the unmarred ticket from his furry friend.

I can't imagine trying to tell the valet that a dog or grate ate our ticket, and all we knew was the color and kind of rental car that had an unidentified Maryland license plate. 

It's great to be and encounter lucky dogs!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

383,999,000 Things That Didn't Happen

It's sometimes overwhelming to deal with all the things that come our way.  However, when we consider that 383,999,000 (google search for stuff that happens) possible things didn't cross our paths, it is easier to process the things that we did address.

Makes me feel 100% better about the several things I did successfully address.

Everything is relevant!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Different Voice

Laryngitis is frustrating for anyone afflicted.  It's perhaps particularly stressful for those who:
  • talk every day as a major part of our jobs (me)
  • live with someone who has hearing issues (me)
Amazingly, I conducted a customer presentation on Thursday and conducted a scheduled United Way conference call, with unimpaired voice on Friday.  However, the next time I answered the phone, only a whisper escaped.  Fortunately, I was able to convey the desired information to my caller.

My voice had been threatened for 2 days.  It started with a sore throat and progressed to coughing through the night.  I feel blessed that my full voice was unimpaired for my presentations.  However, once my scheduled obligations ended, so did my volume.  My body sent a very silent message that I needed a break from the non-stop activity of my work week.

Whispers, touch and hand signals gave a different voice to the rest of my day.  Despite my lack of volume, I was able to successfully complete many interactions. 

Touch, eye contact and hand signals supplemented the audible voice I lacked.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What the Top 1% Do Differently

Garrison Wynn's book, The Real Truth about Success - What the top 1% do differently, why they won't tell you, and how you can do it anyway" captures 10 years of his research with 5000 top performers. 

A few tidbits from his book include:

1.      Most successful people get where they are because they have secret advantages and aren’t afraid to use them – look, personality, character trait, demeanor, network, resources

2.      We often deem irrelevant the smaller things we do repeatedly.  However little differences are often the BIG distinction.

3.      You actually want an unfair advantage rather than a fair fight.

4.      We get value from those we trust – compassion and competence lead to trust.

5.      Be clear and likable- if you are likable you have influence

6.      Optimism peppered with negativity to get innovation and success – there is a difference between negative thinking and fatalistic thinking.

7.      Intelligence must be coupled with communication. Without clarity you have no impact.  It doesn’t matter how much you know if no one understands you.

8.      You can’t be influential unless you know what someone values.

9.      Sometimes it is what you don’t know that helps you most – everyone knows something you don’t know – that is a way to build buy in, connection and make the other person feel valued.

10. Much of our success is based on appearance and personality.

11. The true strength of a team is based upon people playing different roles.

12. You can’t lead by example if you are a bad example.

13. Do very little of what you do badly and a lot of what you do well.

14. Listening is powerful – it makes others feel important, heard and smart.

15. Don’t say "you are wrong" – look for even  a 10% opportunity for agreement.

16. If people don’t like your behavior, they look for reasons to disagree.

17. Most successful people enjoy the process to be successful

18. Know how others perceive you and use that to your advantage.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two Very Different Dog Stories

A colleague was walking her dog this weekend and a pit bull scaled the 6-foot fence in his yard and attacked her beloved pet.  In the process of saving her companion, my colleague was also bitten.  Both my colleague and her dog sustained injuries but are recovering. 

The morning after I heard this story, I was running my normal route. As I rounded a corner, I was shocked to come within inches of a large dog tied to a post.  The dog's owner had stepped in for coffee across the street. 

Both my colleague and I were doing our thing without expectation of danger.  The huge fence between her and the aggressive pit bull would have appeared to be a protective barrier and wasn't.  There was no barrier as I unexpectedly encroached on the other dog's space.  However, this well-behaved animal barely noticed me.  Though I was frightened, the animal was not the threat I immediately assumed.

These experiences reminded me that safety and danger are not always as they appear.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paintdrops Weren't Falling on Our Heads

Years ago, my husband and I realized that we were "have it done for yourselfers" rather than do-it-yourselfers".  However, I recently agreed to join my Comerica colleagues for 4 hours of paining at a United Way agency for Comerica's national day of service.

Thankfully, visions of paintdrops falling on my head, did not materialize.  One of our committed colleagues engaged her accomplished painting contractor husband.  He and she saved the day!

Our small, but eager team was effectively directed to achieve a project that appeared to exceed our abilities.  This experience reminded me that leaders often situationally emerge.

We can keep paintdrops from falling on our heads by bringing the right tools and engaging the best team members.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Exceeding an Enormous Goal!

I enthusiastically accepted a request to lead Comerica's Houston United Way campaign.  We first thought that we'd be asked to exceed last year's campaign by 10%, which was imminently doable. However, when we were asked to raise over $40,000 more than the previous year's campaign, I knew that creating a stellar team was the only way we could succeed (or exceed goals).

We realized that all of our colleagues were not familiar with the amazing impact of United Way and created 3 distinct Kick-Off events with speakers from United Way and community agencies. Knowing that every dollar we raise benefits 1 in 2 of our Houston residents creates a compelling case to participate.

This stellar team of committed leaders and engaged colleagues has exceeded our ambitious fund-raising goal!

Lessons reinforced by this experience are:
  • education is a critical component for buy-in
  • leading by example really matters
  • individual requests for participation increase engagement
  • creating an ambitious goal creates a rallying point for success
  • asking a newbie to lead the charge allows new questions to be addressed

Friday, September 21, 2012

Amazing Generosity!

As the Board Chair for DePelchin Children's Center, I got to participate today in the closing celebration for their incredibly creative United Way campaign.  The generosity, enthusiasm and commitment for helping others was contagious! And the dollars raised will benefit 1 in 2 Houstonians.

This amazing team of non-profit employees invests its time and talent, daily, to turn lives around for children and families.  And they also share their treasures to complete a United Way campaign far more generous than many for profit company campaigns.

It takes incredible time, talent and treasure to consistently address community needs.  The DePelchin Children's Center staff's passion, professionalism and monetary contributions are amazing multi-faceted commitments to the children and families of Texas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Do Something

Today was a wide-awake at 2:00 a.m. after falling asleep at 11:00 p.m. day.  I'd become overwhelmed with everything on my plate and couldn't quiet my mind to get some much needed sleep.  I finally quit fighting sleeplessness and got up to start taking action on some of the many things on my to do list.  After tackling aspects of several projects, I felt enormously better. Though I don't take naps, I'm aware of the restorative value many receive from napping, and decided at 5:30 that a 30 minute nap might change the day's dynamics. 

Just doing two somethings made a tremendous difference in my day's stress and success:
  • Getting up and addressing issues when conventional wisdom would prescribe sleeping
  • Taking a 30 minute early morning nap after using sleeping hours to work
It would be foolish to health damaging for me to advocate this as a schedule.  However, recognizing our stresses and just doing something, even unconventional, about them can reduce our stress and increase our success.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

For Better and Everything Else

I'm wonderfully blessed that my marvelous parents celebrated their 57th anniversary yesterday!  They have been role models for countless others and me.  Their love, inspiration, perseverance, counsel, advice, humor, empathy, tenacity, grit, determination and loyalty have made their journey memorable and inspirational.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looking Forward

At a Comerica Economic Forecast luncheon today, we paused to remember the bravery, sacrifice and resilience of so many on this 11th anniversary of 9/11.  And we also expressed gratitude for the incredible freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.  Though it would have been easy to avoid this date, it was appropriate to glance back, yet honor the ultimate sacrifice of so many by hosting a forward looking event. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Seemingly Inconsequential Paths

I was once again reminded how wonderfully connected everything is on Friday as I arrived at an event with 1200 attendees.  Though most arriving guests were being directed to the right, hand signals with a distant greeter assured me that entering on the left was perfectly acceptable. 

It quickly became very clear to me why I chose the less promoted path, when a friend who had just extended an invitation the previous day,was the first person to greet me.  My luck continued as I entered an attractive theatre row and was greeted by friends in the row behind and several seats over from my favorite nonprofit.  Moving my seat allowed meaningful, unexpected dialogue.

The only other person I needed to see at the event, was at the door as I exited.

Generally, I visit with numerous people at large events.  However, my only three significant engagements on this occasion were with people with whom I had current business. The chances for me to randomly only encounter these 3 people in a crowd of 1200 gives me one more assurance that everything is connected. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Getting What We Want

When we have experienced seemingly unnecessary delays or inadequate responses caused by strangers, it is important to realize that the customer service individual is often doing the best that she/he can.

Our anger/frustration/impatience is sometimes directed at those least able to provide the solution/answer/outcome that we desire.

Often, "thank you or okay or I see" delivered with a smile, even through clenched teeth, is the best response.   Then, we aren't further burdened by guilt for our outbursts.

However, if the issue is important enough, we need to address it with someone other than the person on the front line.

Whenever we are angry or dissatisfied, it is prudent to pause to determine the action or response we are actually seeking to make things better.  Then, we need to consciously act or react appropriately to achieve our desired outcome.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


If you want to make changes, it doesn’t matter:

  • Who you are
  • Where you were born
  • Who your parents are
  • What obstacles you have faced or are currently facing
However it does matter:

  • How committed you are
  • Why you want to do things differently
  • What positive steps you will make
  • When you are going to start
  • How you are going to measure progress
Small steps coupled with commitment lead the way to success.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thank You!

Thank You! These two simple words when offered graciously and sincerely can make a day! 
When we take time to conscientiously add the reason for our gratitude, the impact increases.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Observe Carefully and Think Creatively

Can you create 6 by adding one line to IX?

What would you do if you encountered the following sign in a reading comprension test, with the word GO in the middle?

We can become so programmed to think of a line as straight, that we fail to think that adding a curving line (S)  in front of IX makes 6.

And we can become so fixated on equating the red octagonal image with a stop sign that we fail to read the unexpected word placed on the familiar image.

These examples are used to illustrate how easy it is to see or hear what we expect rather than what is actually being presented or said.

When we care about relationships, opportunities or projects, it behooves us to observe carefully what is actually being conveyed and think creatively about alternative meanings.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ask before Telling

We can get so caught up in sharing our knowledge and experience that we lose the chance to establish a real connection.  It is incredibly important to be prepared for a meeting.  However, we sometimes forget that appropriate preparation includes planning the questions to ask as well as the tell (information we will convey).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Add an E for Excellence

Create and react have 5 of the same letters.  However, when you move the "c" to the beginning and add an "e" to the end of the shorter word, we find that we are in control.  When we are reacting, others have the advantage.  But when we are creating ideas, plans and actions we have an excellent possibility of crafting the life we choose, rather than having one chosen for us by reactive default.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Happiness is a Choice

Everyone has problems, challenges and disappointments (PCD).  How we deal with them is a choice that permeates every facet of our lives.  If we all chose to focus primarily on PCD we would be perpetually unhappy, certainly pessimistic and eventually a relationship-wounder/killer. 

I'm not naive.  I have definitely deeply mourned untimely deaths, dealt with unfavorable diagnoses and overcome many other obstacles.  Nonetheless, I deeply believe that we can create our own happiness.  Regardless of our PCD, we can focus some of our thoughts on the people for whom we are grateful, the things that we enjoy, and the myriad freedoms and blessings that we, as Americans, often take for granted.

Happiness is the healthiest and best choice!  Depending upon our PCDs we may begin with moments of happiness, which can be extended to hours, days and years.

We must deal with our PCDs, but focusing on appreciation for all that is right in our lives, acknowledging the positive meaning and impact of others who are significant in our lives, and rejecting non-situational unhappiness allows us to snuff out an ongoing state of unhappiness. 

With practice, happiness will prevail!

Choose Happiness
Acknowledge PCD
Choose Happiness

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Do You Mean by Can't?

When we say we can't do something it can mean:
  • we have a conflict
  • we don't want to
  • we don't know how
  • we are not physically able
  • we don't have the qualifications
  • we are not geographically near the opportunity
  • we don't have permission
  • we don't have time
  • we don't have resources
  • we've already done it and it's a one-time opportunity
When it's something we'd like to pursue if the reasons above could be overcome, it's helpful to think in terms of I haven't rather than I can't. 

If I say that I haven't yet done something, it leaves the door open for barriers to achievement to be removed. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flight Departs at 7:32

The airlines don't accept any excuses for a passenger arriving late for a flight.  They have a posted schedule and we all know that if we want to get to our destination on time, we must board before the doors close.  The rest of life doesn't seem to adhere to such punctuality.  I've ushered in church and admitted parishioners who arrived after the sermon ended.

What if we treated commitments with our family members, friends and colleagues with the same respect that we hold for airline reservations? 

The airlines don't allow us to be 5 minutes late, so we allow adequate time for weather, traffic and other contingencies. If we treated all important commitments with the same importance as we do flights, we'd reduce stress, increase credibility, improve productivity and reduce hurt feelings. 

Maybe I'll set my next committee meeting at 7:32 to stand out from the standard start times.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stress of Waiting

My newest great-nephew was born on Sunday.  Mom and baby are healthy and happy! Nine months to prepare for a birth is one thing.  Waiting for delivery once labor begins adds another dimension to the stress of waiting.  Extended family members and friends become acutely aware and interested in the pending miracle of birth.  Geographically distant relatives and friends call or wait impatiently for updates.  Once a healthy baby is welcomed into the world and the new mom is okay, the stress dissipates and the celebration begins.

Daily waiting for tardy family members, guests, attendees, employees or volunteers is also stressful, without a joyous event to celebrate upon arrival.  

Babies can't reduce the stress of waiting.  The rest of us can.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Run or Retreat?

This weekend, I was enjoying a nice run in Port Mansfield, and was excited to spot a nice buck along the route.  This was quite a different site than my normal Houston runs!  Once the deer determined that I was no threat, he quickly resumed his morning meal and I happily continued my adventure.

Soon, a smaller four-legged creature challenged my right to continue.   A feisty, territorial pointer began barking threateningly as soon as I came into sight.  Though I was on the other side of the street, he didn't think I belonged anywhere in his neighborhood.  And since it's a sparsely populated area, there wasn't anyone to ask for assistance.  Though I continued to retreat, walking backwards with my eyes on him, he was not content.  Finally, a passing car distracted him and I turned and ran back to the club. 

Everyone is fearful or insecure about something. How we address these discomforts matters.  Knowing when to run and when to retreat is part instinct and part experience.  The more experienced we are the better our instincts become. 

Sometimes running is the answer.  And other times we need to retreat. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Run to Something

I thoroughly enjoyed dinner this evening with a group of friends.  Each of us has been through major job changes during the past year.  Three of us are now very happy with our opportunities, another is consulting and looking for a job, and the other is quite discontent. It was easy for the rest of us to advise our dissatisfied friend not to simply run from her situation, but to wait and run to something truly exciting.

When things aren't rosy, escape often looks very attractive.  That's when we most need our well-meaning friends to remind us to consider the positives of the current job (in her case - 5 minutes from home, terrific company and great compensation) and to look beyond the frustrations of the immediate situation.  Merely running from a frustrating job, rather than running to something demonstrably better, will yield short-term satisfaction, at best. 

And when we find an opportunity that is a truly a great fit, we should run, run, run as fast as we can.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Measure It

We all know the importance of setting goals.  Goals without measurement have very little chance for success.  Without accountability it's easy to lose track of time or overestimate achievement.  My running has given me a concrete way to see how important it is to track each outing.  My year end goal is 365 miles.  I'm 56% of the way there 64% into the year.  Knowing what it will take to reach my goal keeps me motivated.  The numbers don't care if I'm tired or it's hot or raining.  They just provide a way for me to always know what it's going to take to succeed. 

When a goal is important, we need to measure it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summarize It

We're all busy and inundated with information from many sources.  I know I'm not the only one who gets countless attachments for meetings.  It's far easier for the sender to pass along information received rather than taking the time to highlight key points.  But, it's intimidating for the recipient to tackle 6 or more attachments.  Often, when the material looks like it's going to take a lot of time to process, the recipient sets it aside for later.  Unfortunately, later doesn't always come, and the shared information remains unread.

When I want action or buy-in, it's worked well for me to summarize the contents of documents in 1-2 pages to share with others, rather than hoping they find time to sort through myriad documents.  Though I offer to share the source documents, my recipients are generally grateful to simply hit the highlights.  This allows us to streamline prep time and devote meeting time to key issues.

For one project that I'm leading, I've scheduled weekly 30 minute meetings using this method.  As an incentive to committee members, once they've achieved 100% for their commitments, they can opt out of the weekly meetings.  With time as a precious commodity, 30 found minutes per week motivates quick action.

The time spent summarizing information, at the beginning, provides great time effectiveness and efficiency through the life of the project.

Just summarize it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Joys of Reading

I've just finished another terrific novel by one of my favorite authors.  What fun it is to become so engrossed in a book that you don't want to put it down! The love of reading is a lifetime gift we can share with children of all ages.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lucky Penny Experiment Results

Many thanks to all who have spread good luck to others!  Though other lucky pennies may still be returned, it's exciting to know that 141 people in 16 states and 2 non-U.S. countries have shared good wishes for great luck in the Lucky Penny Experiment. 

One recipient included a wonderful affirmation for the project:
"May you never fail to express all of the wild and wondrous things you are.  Have only one rule: Be your wild, courageous, brilliant self every single day.  No matter what."

Only one lucky penny broke through the envelope, and landed who knows where, rather than arriving safely back to be redeployed.

And the good wishes will continue as I share the cancelled Toy Story stamps on the returned cards to enhance my friend's stamp collection.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Changing the Things We Can

Generally, only babies with a soiled diaper truly appreciate and readily accept change.  The rest of us need some time to adjust. 

It's often hard to accept the adjustment period others need to consider and embrace change once we have carefully developed a plan, after weighing alternatives.  Or when we want to introduce a program we've successfully used in another environment, but we're met with "that's not the way we do things here" - it's discouraging. 

Trying to introduce change has reinforced:
  • Patience is a (sometimes painfully acquired) virtue.
  • Just because it's clear to me, it may take require many "show and tell" opportunities for others to agree.
  • Small victories deserve celebration.
  • I can lead the way, but I can't make others do anything they don't choose or accept.  I can just keep leading.
  • Though I trust until shown that a party is not trustworthy, others distrust until trustworthiness is proven.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Out with the Old and In with the New

In many cases, more is better.  But, I was vividly reminded that eyesight is best when it's the way Goldilocks expected - just right. 

Though mine are extended wear contacts, I've finally resolved to remove them almost every night, after years of continuous wear.  One recent morning, I opened and inserted a new pair of contacts, but didn't pause to discard the old lenses from my case.  By that evening, rote memory took over and as I removed my lenses, I placed them in the case.  The following morning, I unknowingly inserted two left lenses.  My extremely blurred vision reminded me that I'd failed to discard the old lens when I inserted the new one. 

Life Lessons reinforced are:
  • Finish the job - when the old is no longer needed, deal with it appropriately, but don't let it obstruct the new by default
  • Determine the Goldilocks amount - more is not always better

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Embracing Today

We intellectually know that dwelling on the past won't change the outcome.  However, we all have those in our circle who live in the past.  And we know those who incessantly worry about the future.  It great to remember, important to plan and critical for well-being to seize what today offers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Putting Our Best Hand and Foot Forward

We've always heard we should put our best foot forward.  Many things come in pairs. Perhaps we should add "hand"to that conventional wisdom of making a good impression.  Putting our best hand forward can have many positive connotations including:
  • friendly - wave
  • supportive - pat on the back
  • attentive to detail - well manicured
  • helpful - helping hand
  • confident - professional handshake
  • handy - tactically adept problem solver
  • trustworthy - seal the deal handshake
  • uniqueness - fingerprints

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Give Yourself a Break

Those who know me well, realize that I'm writing this as a much-needed self pep talk, as well as for anyone else who pushes too hard. 

When we give our best to every other effort, we owe it to ourselves to consciously schedule "me" time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Superficial, Not Meaningless

There are many superficial (shallow) initial conversations.  However, for those of us who believe that everything's connected we recognize that every conversation could lead to something significant.  Many (seemingly) superficial conversations are the necessary first steps toward building a meaningful relationship.

Success results from creating meaningful connections.  


Lucky Pennies are Well Traveled

With one more week to go in the Lucky Penny Experiment, two more pennies have returned.  And they've spread luck far and wide:
  • New York City
  • Singapore
  • Austin
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Rochester, MN
  • Boston
  • Chesapeake, VA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Brenhan, TX
  • San Francisco
  • Mountain View, CA
  • Killeen, TX
  • Airville, TX
  • Biffer, FL
Thank you to all who are sharing summer fun and good luck wishes!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rate It

One of my favorite colleagues put things in great perspective this week when she shared a tip for reacting to actions, inactions or statements that cause us angst.  Regardless of how ridiculous we think the situation is, it can be helpful to mentally rate, from 1-10, how important it is.  This simple action can give much needed perspective in choosing the battles we choose to fight. 

Fewer battles = more harmony and much less stress.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Election Oddity

Today's runoff election put Republican and Democratic voters from our area precincts in a location where Edgar and I have never before voted.  Though we've voted in countless elections in the past many years, the new location was not the oddity that struck me.  The oddity was that for my first time as a voter, Democrats and Republicans were voting in the same room during a primary election, and the party election divider placed Republicans on the left and Democrats on the right.

Though I have no idea if the placements were intentional or random, it was interesting that Republican voters, typically identified as right-leaning had to go left to cast ballots and Democratic voters usually tagged as left-leaning voters had to veer right.  Perhaps this was a subtle message that we all need to be a little less partisan.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ask and You May Receive

Recently I entered a large department store and read the sign detailing additional savings on sale items.  As I was paying for my items I asked the sales clerk about the additional discount on my purchases, and was told that the sale ended the previous day.  She was surprised when I showed her that the sale sign was still displayed at the entrance I'd used.  She agreed to my request to ask her manager to honor the previous day's sale price.  Before completing my special purchase, she followed her manager's order and removed the outdated sign from this little used entrance.  I smiled and thanked her for granting me the additional discount.  As she handed me my bag, she let me know that no one else would be receiving the additional discounts. 

This incident reminded me that by reasonably asking for what we want, we may receive what others don't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Everyone's Insecure About Something

Watching the Olympics reminds me that even the most accomplished people have some insecurity.  No one is 100% confident in every situation.  Insecurities include the possibility that someone is:
  • better
  • faster
  • stronger
  • smarter
  • prettier or more handsome
  • better prepared
  • more well-rounded
  • more stylish
  • better connected
  • more popular
Or that we will say, do or wear something inappropriate.
Or that we will be too early, too late or not welcome.

The list of insecurities is endless.  Knowing that everyone has at least one insecurity makes being human less stressful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Multi-tasking Perils

I'm fine!  However, that wasn't a foregone conclusion after I missed the last stair and fell this morning, when I was trying to do too many things before a very early meeting.

Looked easy enough to pick up the happy bird-day message for Gar that I'd placed on each step on his birthday eve.  However, my hands were filled with my morning Diet Coke, evening water glass, newspaper and cell phone.  And I was backing down the stairs in heels. After picking up the last letter, my brain thought "finished" and I missed the last stair.

Though I'd tried to save time by combining tasks, my departure was delayed, rather than accelerated when I had to change my Diet Coke-stained clothes.

It's easy to think we're immune from the multi-tasking perils until we experience a multi-tasking fall (literal or figurative).  Fortunately, my fall was only inches. 

No doubt this cautionary tale was to remind you and me to focus on one important task at a time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Highlighting Impact

Last week we sent simple personalized notes to our 2012 blood donors with a Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center highlighter pen, thanking them for their donations and highlighting  their impact.  There are so many quick, easy and inexpensive ways to say thank you - you make a difference.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Full is Your Glass?

One of the classic differentiators between optimists and pessimists is whether they see the glass as half-full or half-empty. I was born and raised as an optimist and see the glass as full and overflowing.  However, I know several folks whose glass is half-empty, cracked and leaking.  This week I learned of the ultimate pessimist who asks, "What glass?".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lucky Penny Experiment is Working

With three weeks to go, the last lucky penny in the experiment was shared today and the first lucky penny made it back from a friend unmet in Portland, OR.  It traveled from Houston to Austin to Denver to Portland, hopefully spreading happy cheer across the country.

Many thanks for the positive, encouraging feedback and for enthusiastically sharing good luck and great cheer with others.

We all need encouragement and my hopes are that this little experiment will touch several lives as the luck is passed from friend to friend.

Monday, July 23, 2012

175 Miles Stronger

My joke before becoming a runner at the end of February was that I might run the equivalent of a marathon in a lifetime, but couldn't imagine anyone doing it in one day.  It's still hard to imagine anyone running 26.2 consecutive miles, and I'm as surprised as anyone that I've now run over 175 miles (the equivalent of 6.75 marathons).

Some lessons learned from becoming a runner include:
  • we can do and enjoy things we never thought possible, practical or palatable
  • it's only possible, practical and palatable when we're not injured (when we accept our limitations we set the stage for new milestones)
  • disconnecting electronically allows us to clear our minds and in so doing create new ideas
  • opportunities to connect with others expand with new these new venues

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What's on Your Mind?

Challenge yourself to quickly write down 25 things, not people, then see why these came to mind.

My list contained:
  • celebratory words: birthday cake, ice cream cone, wine glass, pumpkin (Halloween)
  • pampering/comfort words: bathtub, lotion, nail polish, cat, ice maker, potted plant, red mitten (childhood)
  • entertainment/exercise words: airline ticket, fishing rod, movie, book, monopoly game, bicycle, tennis shoe
  • connecting words: telephone, coin (Lucky Penny Experiment) 
  • putting best foot forward words: shoe, bracelet, snowflake (being best unique self)
  • necessary words: umbrella (Houston's 2.5" above average rainfall)
This was simply an exercise that I did to stimulate creativity, and it's interesting to me that every seemingly random word on my list related to things that are meaningful to me.

What's on your mind?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hearts in Nature

Family and friends have provided me with a cherished collection of hearts through the years. During this morning's run I noticed several hearts outdoors - a shrub, numerous caladium leaves, part of a pine cone, a tree leaf and a rut in the pavement.  My Google query yielded 5.81 million results for hearts in nature photos.  The link below has many intriguing images.

Images for hearts in nature photos

Friday, July 20, 2012

Don't Forget

I rarely misplace or forget things, but one day this week I arrived home without my cell phone.  Rather than make the trek back to the office to retrieve it, I left the electronic leash disconnected until the next morning. The biggest angst came from hoping that I'd actually left it in my office rather than in a conference room or the 1st floor building restroom (our company restroom was closed for cleaning as I left for the day). 

Thankfully my cell phone was waiting in my office with all the emails, texts and calls (listed in the volume order of my mobile interactions).

To avoid future angst, I've adopted the 4 P checklist for leaving my office:
  • Purse
  • Phone
  • Photo ID
  • PC
Consciousness counts.  These 4 Ps make me stop and assess before I depart.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Goldilocks Rain

Last week's YTD Houston rainfall was 2.5 inches above normal and 19 inches above last year's severe drought totals. Our reactions to rain vary with conditions.  Last year everyone in Houston was receptive to any and all moisture.  This year, there is a bit of weariness, yet few complaints, since we've recently experienced such a deficit. As with other things we tend to appreciate rain more when it is not readily available. 

In years when rainfall is at normal levels, people tend to focus only on the inconvenient timing of showers that impact their commutes or planned outdoor activities.

One recent morning, I enjoyed simply intently listening to the rain with no assessment of quantity or impact.

It's not unexpected that we all want Goldilocks rain - not too much, not too little, but just right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

40,000 Smile Check-up

For years, as I've left my long-time dentist's office, after our visit I've quipped that I'm good for another 100,000 miles.  Today, Dr. T retorted that I'm good for 100,000 smiles, which is far better than mere miles.  That intrigued me to do the math.

Readily available statistics revealed the following average smiles per day:
  • babies - 400
  • children - 200
  • women - 62
  • men - 8
My demeanor is cheerful and friendly, smiling often, when I'm with others and when I'm alone. Thus, if I'm just over a child's smile average, my six month check-up is actually a 40,000 smile

What's your smile quotient?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roll Again

When Edgar and I were playing backgammon yesterday, one of my dice rolled under the sofa. Reaching under the sofa, I scooped up a die, put it in the cup and rolled. Thinking that I'd mixed the dice, I looked quizzically at Edgar when a die of each color landed on the board.  Unbelievably, the only two items under the sofa were this die that we didn't know was missing and mine. 

Had the dice been the same color, we wouldn't have discovered die #2 or this bizarre coincidence.  

Oddly enough, this oddity reminded me that in life (not dice), we often quit searching when we find what we expect, rather than continue to see if other, better options exist.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Personalized Payment

It's been years since I've received U.S. currency with a note written on it.  Imagine my surprise, when I made an infrequent trip to the ATM today and received a $20 bill with Pam written on it.  So many things had to fall into place at exactly the right time.  This is yet another weird way in which everything's connected.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anything But Manila

Several comments were made about my bright animal print file folder at a meeting last week.  Not only do non-traditional folders provide a festive touch, they are easy to find when you've put them aside to shake hands at a meeting.  My insistence on anything but manila folders for meetings began after I arrived at a podium to deliver remarks and discovered my colleague's photo release forms rather than my notes.  Fortunately, I'd studied the material and no one knew that I was winging it until my post-event confession to the team.

Fitting in has its advantages, but so does standing out.  Knowing when to apply each adds to success.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ann/Anne x 4

Five women and three men were in a strategy session this week.  I continue to find interesting connections and surprisingly, two women were named Anne and two others had Ann as a middle name.  This struck me as extremely unusual, so I searched and discovered that Ann is the 48th most common female name in America and Anne is the 85th most common.  First names of the other 3 female participants ranked 37, 101 and 568.

As extraordinary as the odds of this name frequency are, it's also amazing that we even discovered the commonality.

Everything's connected in more ways than we assume.  Curiosity helps us connect.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tell Others What They Mean to You

Too few people know the difference they make to others.  We all have the opportunity each day to tell loved ones, friends and acquaintances how they've positively impacted our lives.  We're sometimes hesitant to share compliments because we don't know how they'll be received or true feelings because they may not be returned. 

When we say what we mean, with our only objective being encouraging another, it will generally be well received.  Usually, it's only when it's manipulative, false or self-serving do we get a negative reaction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Antidote for Idonwanna

I recently had a rare case of  "I Don't Want To" - better known as Idonwanna.  The generally persuasive triplets, Should, Could and Must, weren't effective.  However Itty Bitty cured me.  By allowing myself to tackle some big tasks in 15 minute chunks, I started some and finished other nagging projects.

Itty Bitty is a terrific Idonwanna antidote.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pennies are Lucky

Early "Lucky Penny Experiment" feedback indicates that found coins are indeed lucky.  One recipient shared that each time she's found a coin, she's made a sale.  Another recipient shared that she routinely passed along her grandfather's habit of leaving discovered "heads up" pennies to share the luck with the next finder. And one special recipient is exploring medical treatment options and appreciated yet another display of good wishes.

Thanks to all who are sharing good luck and supporting friends and strangers.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Life Speaks

Today I attended a lovely memorial service for a dear friend's husband.  His well-lived life was evident through every aspect of the service:
  • the full house during a holiday weekend
  • beautiful music
  • articulate, adoring grown children beautifully eulogizing their father
  • many instances of his servant leadership
  • giving of his talents to numerous nonprofits
  • a minister who knew well and respected this special man
It was obvious, as the minister mentioned, that his life consistently spoke the terrific man he was.

How awesome to live a life that speaks amazingly for you when you are present and when you are departed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lucky Penny Experiment

Since childhood, I've been fascinated with lucky pennies - "Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck."  And it's fun to pass the luck along to a friend.  One morning this week during a run, the idea for the Lucky Penny Experiment was born.  Finding a lucky penny near the conclusion of the run spurred me to action. Finding the perfect card this morning to present the lucky pennies was another exciting motivator.

The concept is simple.  The recipient of a lucky penny card is asked to sign his/her first name, city and state, then pass it on to another lucky and willing person.  Whoever has a card on August 15 is asked to drop the card in the stamped, addressed envelope in the mail.

I plan to be share penny adventures as feedback is received and when cards are ultimately returned in mid-August.  Blog comments are encouraged!

Looking forward to sharing:
  • how many cards make it back home
  • stories of days brightened
  • the luckiest penny - based upon how many people shared the luck and signed the card
  • the most traveled pennies - how far from home and how many destinations
  • the most interesting story 
  • if any penny became famous by association
Wishing everyone great luck!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Are Everyone's Taste Buds Also Connected?

Yesterday for lunch, I met a friend at a restaurant that I've typically only enjoyed for weekend brunch, rather than one of my usual business lunch sites.  As I was walking in, some dear friends were also coming to dine, and were ultimately seated at a table right by ours.  Quite surprisingly, I learned late last night that my son and his friends had dinner at this restaurant.  And to top it off, when I got to work this morning, my colleague volunteered that she and another friend were dining at this same place for lunch. 

It appears that everything, including taste buds, are connected.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Corporate Pool for Syncronized Swimming

Syncronized swimming requires all swimmers to be in the same pool.  Yet for many corporations, each line of business is swimming in a different pool.  However, the communities in which a company operates do not distinguish between lines of business. Whoever a business leader knows in a particular company IS the company to him or her. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Caring with Limits to Sharing

This week a concerned colleague instinctively suggested a very compassionate way (host a blood drive) to engage coworkers and customers to assist a cherished colleague who is in the midst of serious medical treatments involving frequent use of blood products.  Her motives were pure and her assumptions that many would love to donate blood were accurate.  However, caring today includes many restrictions on information sharing.  And there are no longer opportunities to directly provide replacement credits for an individual's usage of blood products.

Though we can't share this colleague's information, our caring prompts us to encourage interested, eligible donors to donate blood and blood products.  The need is enormous and there is still no artificial substitute for blood. 

Each time we donate, we have the opportunity to save 3 lives.  Donating blood is sharing with unlimited caring.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When a Little Means a Lot

I've previously written about the impact of  $25 Kiva loans to enterprising business women and men.  Today I made my 22nd loan, this one to a group of female business women in the Congo.  It's exciting to perpetually invest a little, with potentially life-changing impacts to the entrepreneurs and their families. As is often the case, with those who attempt to help, my life has been greatly enriched by giving a little and seeing the the bigger difference these little bits have made to so many striving families around the globe. 

A little investment can change lives - of investors and of those in whose enterprises investments are made.  Investment is one of the many ways to help individuals and businesses prosper.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Random Encouragement

It's fabulous when we get needed encouragement from family and friends.  It's also great when we give and get encouragement from strangers and acquaintances. 

Yesterday morning, in heat that discouraged a normal cadre of walkers and runners, a stranger walker, said from across the street, that she admired me.  I turned to give her two thumbs up with a huge smile, and responded that we are both getting our exercise.

So many of us are doing the best that we can, and there are so very many opportunities to provide encouragement along the way.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everyone Can Make Someone's Day Special

This busy week provided the opportunity to enjoy many diverse events including two evening gatherings at the same downtown corporate headquarters.  As I arrived for the second celebration this week, I recognized the smiling valet with appreciation for taking care of me a couple of days earlier.  Much to my surprise and delight, he chose to keep my car upfront so that I'd have no wait as I left.  This simple human connection made two people's days special.  This hard-working man afforded me unexpected special service and earned him a bonus.

We all have the opportunity through simple acts of acknowledgement and kindness to make someone's day special.

Friday, June 15, 2012

45 Ways to Make a Difference

45 Ways to Make a Difference

1.      Volunteer!

2.      Contribute financially to a non-profit organization.

3.      Join a non-profit friends group.

4.      Become an advisory board member.

5.      Serve on a board.

6.      Chair a committee.

7.      Plan an event.

8.      Make friends aware of the great work of your chosen non-profit organization.

9.      Walk, run or bike for an organization.

10.  Donate your new or gently used items to an organization.

11.  Vote.

12.  Bring someone with you to volunteer.

13.  Recycle.

14.  Collect non-perishable food items for a food bank or pantry.

15.  Give blood.

16.  Register as an organ donor.

17.  Provide toiletry items to a homeless organization.

18.  Be a mentor.

19.  Teach a class.

20.  Encourage a friend, stranger, colleague, family member or neighbor.

21.  Speak up for someone who needs an advocate.

22.  Discover new volunteer options. One Houston option is

23.  Take the magazines you’ve read to a nursing home or hospital.

24.  Organize a group of colleagues, friends or neighbors for a volunteer project.

25.  Conserve natural resources.

26.  Fund-raise for a non-profit.

27.  Assist a classroom teacher.

28.  Coach a team.

29.  Fund a classroom project. One option is

30.  Thoughtfully re-gift.

31.  Donate books to the library.

32.  Motivate positive action with a letter to the editor.

33.  Donate or recycle your old cell phone.

34.  Keep reusable bags in your car for shopping trips.

35.  Support a non-profit through social media.

36.  Donate eyeglasses. One option is

37.  Donate unopened contact lenses.  One option is

38.  Shop for a cause.

39.  Donate your hair. One option is

40.  Support our troops.

41.  Share knowledge.

42.  Send used greeting cards to St.Jude’s Ranch (

43.  Become a foster parent.

44.  Attend a fund-raising event.

45.  Make a donation in memory or honor of someone.