There Are Stars Under Those Clouds

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

We are facing a very scary time right now. Too many people are dealing with job loss, illness, and above all, fear. And the worst? The absolute worst is losing a belief in yourself and doubting your own self-confidence.

So, what are we to do? How do we face this monster and fight it with all we have?

Two words – HELP OTHERS.

I know we can’t visit anyone right now because of social distancing, but what about standing outside the window of a family member’s house or the nearby nursing home. You can wave to the people trapped inside, hold up colorful signs or even bring your pet to show them. Even if it brings one smile or one laugh, it’s worth the trip.

What about calling someone on the phone so they can actually hear your voice? Maybe set up a Zoom call so you can see them? I haven’t figured out how to do this myself, but you know what? I have found others who are more tech savvy than me and asked them to organize it. They send a link, I click it, and I get to see my friends and family. I’ve even heard about people dating through Zoom and other like services – what a hoot!

This is your time to get creative. This is your time to fight fear with everything you have inside of you. We will have a new normal but we WILL come out of this victorious. Just remember that people coming together can, and will, solve any problem life throws our way.

Those dark clouds you see now WILL clear, and behind them you will find an abundance of stars and glory beyond your wildest imagination. The beauty will take your breath away.

 

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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: https://www.volunteermatch.org 

One Brick: https://www.onebrick.org/

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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It’s Time to Give Back

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Do you volunteer?

I have found that whenever I take time to help others, asking for nothing in return, some unexpected and amazing things happen.

For instance, several years ago I volunteered for a group called Chicago Greeters, obviously located in Chicago.  They offered free tours to anyone visiting the city and matched them with a knowledgeable tour guide – that was me.  It’s an amazing service: http://chicagogreeter.com/.  If you are ever visiting Chicago, I highly recommend it.

Well, during the two years I volunteered there, on one day, and one day only, I worked with a young woman and we became instant friends.  Now, ten years later, we still remain very close.  Her friendship was worth any amount of money I could have been paid.  And as the commercial says – our friendship is PRICELESS!

Another great experience I had was with an organization called H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly) also located in Chicago: https://www.homeseniors.org/.  They asked me to help a 90 year old woman who was depressed and she needed someone to keep her company.  They asked me to read to her, play a game with her or simply visit and keep her company.  I spent three years with Geri Franklin before she passed away, and in the time we spent together, she shared with me a love and wisdom that has literally changed my life.

So now I have moved to a new city.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a place to volunteer and I’m getting antsy.  It’s time – time to give back and make a difference in someone else’s life.

So that’s why I’m asking you – do you volunteer?  What experiences have you found to be the most valuable?  What organizations would you recommend?   What are your stories of volunteering?  I’d love to know.

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One of the Greatest Lessons I Ever Learned!

professional speaker-positive attitude-personal development

Who would have guessed that I learned my eighth lesson from a 90 year old woman!

As I was trying to rebuild my life and figure out who the “new me” was, my good friend, Asha, suggested that I volunteer.  I couldn’t comprehend that I had anything of value to offer anyone.  I was so distraught and beaten down that I felt worthless.  Who could I possibly help?  Who would want me?

Then, as fate would have it, I heard about an elderly woman who needed company – someone to read to her, talk to her, or play a game with her.  And I thought: Well, I can do that.  No matter how badly I felt, I can still find the time to visit someone.  So I signed up.

And into my life entered Geri Franklin.  A 90 year old, six foot tall, 80 pound ball of energy.  My life would never be the same.

She had adopted a stray cat that she named Lambchops and they were inseparable.  Every time I came to visit her, she would greet me with open arms, give me a great big hug, and call me her angel.  I loved spending time with her, and it wasn’t long before I didn’t feel so worthless anymore.

One evening, as we were sitting in her living room, Geri reached into her purse and pulled out a dollar bill.  It was new and crisp and fresh.  She looked at me mischievously and said: “Do you want it?”

“Sure.”

But as I reached for it, she crumpled it up in her hands.  When she straightened it out, she asked:

“Now that I’ve crumpled it, do you still want it?”

My answer was the same: “Sure!”

But now she threw the dollar bill on the floor and smashed it in the ground.

“What about now.  Do you still want it once it’s been smashed in the ground and dug in the dirt?”

When I answered: “Sure!”  she asked: “Why?”

BECAUSE IT NEVER LOST IT’S WORTH. 

And that, my friends, is the greatest lesson I can share with you:

There will be days when life throws you a curve, and you will feel like you’ve been crumpled up and dug in the dirt.  But remember – no matter what happens, no matter what comes your way, you never, NEVER lose your worth!

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