Reduce Stress AND Help Others? How???

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What can teach you new skills, reduce stress and keep you mentally stimulated, yet only 25% of Americans partake in it???  Hmmmmm, now that I think of it, there can be several answers to that question, but the one I’m referring to is Volunteering.

Yep – volunteer work can have enormous benefits to you, your family and your community.  The right match can help you find friends, learn new skills, combat depression and even advance your career.  Yet with our busy lives, few of us follow through and actually do it.  But volunteering doesn’t have to involve long-term commitment or take a huge chunk out of your day.

Just yesterday I was invited to teach two classes, only 45 minutes each, to high school students who were selected to partake in a program called PEOPLE (Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence).   Coming from low-income families, these students are the first in their families to potentially attend college.  This program helps prepare them to apply and be successfully admitted to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, helping them build study skills and explore their career interests.   

Working with 24 students gave me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I helped make their life a little easier; a little brighter. 

That’s what volunteer work does.  Not only does it help those who need a hand to pull them through the darkness, but it also gives us a sense of worth – knowing that we truly made a difference in someone else’s life.

So, if you only have an hour here and there, and you just can’t make a long term commitment, try one of these links to volunteer for any amount of time you can spare.  You choose.  Do you want to work with children, older folks, animals, plants???  Do you have just one evening, a full day, or longer???  No matter what you decide, the rewards are endless

Volunteer Match: 

One Brick:

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In This Crazy Hurry Up World

Professional Speaker, Personal Development, Positive Attitude

Inspirational quotes have helped me through some extremely difficult times.  When I lost everything I owned a few years ago, and was humbled and horrified at the turn my life had taken, I had to find a way to ease the pain, if only for a little while.  So I began to tape quotes all over my home.  I put them on my refrigerator, my bathroom mirror, even on the steering wheel of my car.  Every day I could read the motivational quotes to help me through the mess my life was in.

Very few, however, ever touched me like the one below:

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”
~ Iain Thomas

What a powerful reminder!  Now my life has been rebuilt, I am surrounded with love and happiness.  Actually, it’s the same love that was always there but I had lost sight of it.  A love of friends and family and a supportive husband who wouldn’t give up on me.   

So as I go from my computer to my phone to my tablet each and every day, trying to keep up with all the emails and texts and everything else that is thrown my way, this quote is a strong reminder to just STOP!  A reminder to look up from that screen, look around, and smile at the people sitting beside me.  A reminder to take time for the important things that truly touch my heart.

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I Still Remember the Roses – And My Father’s Love

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It was over fifty years ago, yet I can remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday.

My father had a green thumb, and although we grew up in the city of Chicago with a VERY tiny back yard, he would have flowers blooming everywhere.  I can still see the bright yellow marigolds, the deep red geraniums, and the dark purple rooster cones.

But the most amazing flowers of all were the roses.  Two beautiful rose bushes that crept up the stone brick garage wall.  Every year, when the first rose bloomed, my Dad would gently cut it, put it in a glass and place it on the kitchen table.  In his beautiful handwriting, he would prop up a note saying: For My Princess.   He would do the same thing – same glass and same message – when the last rose of the garden bloomed.

When he died, I placed two roses on the pillow where he laid his head.  And to this day, I still leave a rose on his grave every time I visit him.

And now, in five days, it is Father’s Day.  I never realized what an impact he had on me when he was alive, and I never had the chance to thank him for all he sacrificed for me.   I only hope that I was able to bring a deep joy to his life, and that somehow he knew how deeply I loved him.

It’s amazing how we can impact another person’s life.  My Dad passed away in 1990 and I still remember how much he loved me and how safe he made me feel.  I was certainly one of the lucky ones to have such a loving, kind and amazing father.  Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

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Being an Extrovert in a Work at Home World

Professional Speaker-Professional Development-Positive Attitude

Most of us have heard about the book titled Quiet made famous by Susan Cain.  She talks about the trials and tribulations of introverts in a “World that Can’t Stop Talking.”

Well, I’d like to bring attention to the flip side; to all the extroverts out there and the challenges we face in today’s “work at home” culture.

Just about every day someone comments on how lucky I am to work at home.  They envy me and wish they could do the same.  It sounds so inviting to set your own schedule, take a break whenever you want, and even work in your pajamas all day if you choose.

But the reality is – for me – it’s torturous!!!  It’s terribly lonely!

You see, I’m an extrovert in every sense of the word.  I thrive on companionship, interaction with other people and conversation.  To be alone all day with no one to speak to is definitely not a good match for me.  It’s taken me a few years to figure it out, and slowly but surely I’m learning  to deal with this “work at home” lifestyle.

If you should find yourself in the same situation, here are three tips that have helped me survive:

First: Plan your day the evening before.  Know exactly when your energy needs a pick-me-up and head out the door for some interaction with people.  I head to the nearest library or coffee shop.  Even if I don’t know anybody there, the new atmosphere and the buzz of the people surrounding me keeps me energized and on task.

Second: Identify your favorite escape places.  It could be a park, café, coffee house, or anyplace you can go whenever the boredom begins to set in.  When I need a quiet place to write my blog or a speech, I know which libraries have quiet rooms and/or lovely views.  When I need more commotion around me, I often try one of the new coffee houses in town.  I actually keep a list in my car so I can pick and choose which location is best for me that day.

Third: Stop making excuses.  For years, whenever I told anyone that I don’t like working at home, they would look at me like I had three heads.  I immediately went into defense mode – often thinking that something must be wrong with me.  There’s nothing wrong with me!  I just happen to be an extrovert who loves being around people.

So what are your thoughts on working at home?  I’d love to hear how you survive the loneliness.

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