Tag Archives: family

Just Say Thank You. :)

Photo Credit: Didriks on Flickr

So – are you cooking today?

Here in the U.S., this is Thanksgiving, a major holiday when most thoughts turn to turkey and dressing, family and friends.

Many of us will tune in to watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then we’ll enjoy a huge, delicious meal before dozing, off and on, through an entire afternoon of football. It’s a happy tradition.

Life slows down a little.

We gather to recognize and celebrate those things for which we are grateful.

We stop. Pay attention. Count our blessings.

And if you’re in charge at your house, you may feel the pressure of preparing that big, special dinner – perhaps even more than you feel the pressure of serving your clients!

Of course, some of you handle it with total ease. And some of you — like me — cook with fingers crossed behind your back that somehow it actually works.

(This year, I’ll be planning a mid-winter retreat for a client’s team – instead of cooking – but I’ll do the dishes. Happily!)

And then – the compliments will start.

That was great!
The turkey looks perfect!
Wow, look at that pie. Can’t wait to dig in to THAT one…

And what will you do when that compliment comes your way?

Most of my clients do a great job of thanking others for what they do. They think nothing of tossing out a hug and a “thank you!” for this or a “great job!” for that to family members, friends or co-workers.

And if you’re a guest at someone else’s kitchen this year, betcha money you’ll tell her –(or him) – what a great job she did too.

But when someone throws an “atta girl!” out to you, you may not handle it quite as well.

In fact, some of you pick up that compliment and throw it right back.

“Oh that? That was nothing. Anybody could do that…”

“That” could be anything. Cook a great dessert, raise a great kid, create a great training or give a great talk.

But a compliment is a gift.

And when you toss it back, you are returning the gift unopened. You are declining a treasure just as surely as if you’d handed back a present wrapped in beautiful, shimmering paper – unopened, refused.

I know you would never mean it to be that way – but that’s what you’re doing.

And that is yet another way that you are blocking the flow of positive energy.

So when someone says something nice to you, they are offering a gift – through words. Receive them well. Resist the temptation to deflect praise with a careless, “oh that was nothing.”

Just say thank you.

No modifiers. No little statements afterwards that take it all back. Just a simple smile and a thanks – and that’s IT.

By all means, do stop to give thanks on this special day…

but practice receiving thanks, as well.

Oh, and here’s a quick bonus tip!

If they offer to help with the dishes? Say thanks – and yes – to THAT, too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

Granny 1Ohhhh the stories we could tell.

Because when you live to be 103, you create a lot of stories along the way. :)

My paternal grandmother was a member of what some call the Greatest Generation, and a force to be reckoned with. She outlived two husbands and a son. Made it through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Era.

She saw women get the right to vote, men walk on the moon, and the fall of the Wall in Berlin. She witnessed the invention of radio, then TV, then something called “the Internet”.

And she saw all of our struggles and triumphs as well.

So last week, when the inimitable Ms.Nettie crossed over into the next stage of her life’s Journey, yes – there were many tears.

But there was also great joy.

This post isn’t about how to succeed in your business. But, as my own coach says, “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

So how you live, and how you work, is also how you create, survive – and succeed.

I wrote the following a few years ago, right after Granny’s 100th birthday celebration. And in honor of her amazing life, it feels right to share it again.

Perhaps something here will help you too – in your life, and maybe even your business.

So here you go, in no particular order…

A lifetime of wisdom in 17 short chapters.

Or, just a few things she taught me about how to have a long and lovely life. Continue reading

Why not add a Little Adventure to your holidays?

Christmas Drivers - by Dustin Gaffke

So how are those holiday preparations coming?

Are you one of those who had everything bought and wrapped back in July? Or perhaps you’re more like me, one who can’t shop for a Christmas gift until I hear Christmas music – after Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is a loaded time of year for so many of us.

For some, it really is a time of happy chaos and joyful anticipation. For others, it means insane workloads and tremendous pressure. (Talk to a mail carrier or a church choir leader lately?)

As for those of you who follow other traditions, I don’t know what kind of preparation pressures you’re under, but I’m sure you’ve got ’em too!

And then there are many for whom the holiday season is just something to get through, a really hard time of year for all kinds of reasons.

So it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ about now.

We should BE this. We should DO that. We should FEEL this. We should WANT that. If we’re not careful, we can talk ourselves into a tizzy about all the things we ‘should’ do at Christmas.

Sometimes, though, I think it helps to shake things up a bit. Who says we have to do everything the exact same way year after year? Who says we have to do everything the exact same way our parents did? Or the way our neighbors do?

If it’s okay to try new recipes in the kitchen, isn’t it okay to try a new twist on other traditions as well?

Sure it is.

So I thought I’d share with you some unique holiday ideas I’ve heard over the years that struck my fancy. Call it the Adventure of the Unexpected – the adventure that comes when we add something a little unexpected to some time honored traditions.

Who knows? Maybe one of these will strike your fancy.

Ready? Here you go: 6 ways to add some unexpected to YOUR holiday.

Continue reading

6 Ways to Add a Little Adventure to Your Holidays

Christmas 2009 046

So how are those holiday preparations coming? Are you one of those who had everything bought and wrapped back in July? Or perhaps you’re more like me, one who can’t shop for a Christmas gift until I hear Christmas music – AFTER Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is a loaded time of year for so many of us. For some, it really is a time of happy chaos and joyful anticipation. For others, it means insane workloads and tremendous pressure. (Talk to a mail carrier or a church choir leader lately?)

As for those of you who follow Jewish or Muslim traditions, I don’t know what kind of preparation pressures you’re under, but I’m sure you’ve got ’em too. :)

And then there are many for whom the holiday season is just something to get through, a really hard time of year for all kinds of reasons.

 

So it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ about now.

 

We should BE this. We should DO that. We should FEEL this. We should WANT that. If we’re not careful, we can talk ourselves into a tizzy about all the things we ‘should’ do at Christmas.

Sometimes, though, I think it helps to shake things up a bit. Who says we have to do everything the exact same way year after year? Who says we have to do everything the exact same way our parents did? Or the way our neighbors do?

If it’s okay to try new recipes in the kitchen, isn’t it okay to try a new twist on other traditions as well?

Sure it is.

So I thought I’d share with you some unique holiday ideas I’ve heard over the years that struck my fancy. Call it the Adventure of the Unexpected – the adventure that comes when we add something a little unexpected to some time honored traditions.

Who knows? Maybe one of these will strike your fancy.

Ready? Here you go: 6 ways to add some unexpected to YOUR holiday.

 

  1. Decorate a (really) different kind of tree.

    A friend of mine once decided to see if she could decorate a tree with nothing but things she found in her yard. There were plenty of woods close by, so she scavenged for bits of dried grasses, vines and colorful berries, interesting leaves, twigs, cones and a feather or two. She gathered and sorted, tied and glued. She did add a few white lights, but tucked them down in the interior of the branches (near the trunk), so that it glowed from the inside out. To this day, that was one of the prettiest trees I’ve ever seen.

    What unusual material could you use to decorate?

  2. Go All Out.

    One dad I know loves Christmas so much that he puts a small tree in every single room of the house, each with it’s own ‘theme’. One will be a Looney Toons tree, decorated totally in cartoon characters. One will be an angel tree, decorated totally in angel figures. One is the “family history” tree, decorated with nothing more than the homemade treats the kids made when they were small. Each room is a collection of one kind or another – Santas, angels, teddy bears, superheroes; a veritable mini-museum of what they love best.

    What unusual or best loved themes might you create?

  3. Go somewhere unexpected.

    I knew one family who went camping every year from Christmas to New Year’s at Cades Cove, a beautiful place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Because they camped, they had to hold gift-giving to a reasonable level. Too hard to pack all that stuff with a tent. :)

    And being away from home and outdoors at special time of year seemed to help them stay connected to what mattered most – each other.

    I’ve known others who threw tradition to the wind and took a cruise at Christmas, or booked a trip to their favorite ski lodge.

    Hey, the clean up on Christmas morning would be a breeze! :)

  4. Invite a new world to dinner.

    I have a another friend who’s father was the president of a small liberal arts college for many years. Because there were always a handful of international students stranded on campus over the holidays, her parents began inviting some of them to their home for Christmas dinner. Over the years, having an international guest, or three, became as much a part of their tradition as the tree.

    Imagine what you could do with this. You could host friends of different cultures, different geographies, different traditions. Have a time of sharing and exploring those differences. Host a meal with dishes, readings or gifts from each culture.

    Experiment with new ways to celebrate the complexity –and connection– that adds depth and meaning to our lives.

  5. Turn gift-giving upside down.

    I’ve seen some pretty creative – and impressive – examples over the years of those who found ways to put the ‘giving’ back in gifts.

    Make it. One family set a goal one year that no one could give any store-bought gifts. Everything had to be something they made or created on their own. For some, that might have meant a batch of home made cookies. For others, it might have meant a heartfelt letter or poem, or perhaps a beautiful handmade wooden box.

    When was the last time you made/built/drew/created something from scratch?

    Serve it. Another family skipped gift giving altogether and chose to spend their holiday in service, volunteering together at a local shelter. Giving the gift of service can add tremendously to our community – but there’s no reason why this wouldn’t work among family as well.

    Anyone need a car wash?

    Live it. On a recent trip, one of my Courageous Women said that she’d decided to start buying experiences rather than “stuff”. And I loved that. Imagine how that could work as part of your gift giving this season. The entire family could pool their resources and go after one big ‘experience’ (diving lessons, an overnight horseback ride, a trip to London.)

    The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

  6. Have some fun with your Inner Child.

    I once knew someone whose family tradition including making sure that everyone got a set of new pajamas for Christmas. Apparently, the idea was that you’d be in them all day on Christmas Day anyway, so why not make that a treat as well?

    And then recently, a young woman told me about her grandfather, someone she loved dearly who has long since passed on. She said one of the things she always loved about him was his playful childlike nature. So, in honor of his memory, we came up with the idea of giving everyone on her list a toy this year. That’s right – a toy, even for the grown ups.

    How long has it been since you played a game of jacks?

Remember – Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be something dramatic or daring. It can be something as simple as a new set of jammies and a hand of Go Fish, played at the base of your all-natural tree.

Or not. :)

So, how about you?

How do you add a little adventure to the holidays?

 

*****

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Join us as we put the Joy back in January during our

Not-So-Secret Mid-Winter WEEKEND Adventure for Courageous Women.

But there are only a few spots left, so grab yours NOW!

 

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You think you don’t do this…(but you do).

Lakeside Dawn, Atitlan

 

You fight the good things that come your way.

I know. That sounds nuts. Like, who would do that?

But the odds are, you do. I do. We all do.

Last week, I urged you to be conscious of the way you responded to compliments. I told you that a compliment is a gift, given to you by another. When you refuse it – or diffuse it – you are returning that gift. Unopened.

Some of you responded, telling me – happily – that you’ve learned that lesson. Many of you, though, are still working on it. I know. I get that. It’s harder than it sounds, isn’t it?

Still – good for you for working on it.

 

Now — are there other such gifts that you’re turning down as well? Probably.

How about these?

     A coworker’s kindness when she offers to help with a project.

      A stranger’s help who offers to lift a heavy package or open a heavy door.

      A friend’s comfort when she offers a hug, a cup of coffee, a listening ear.

Sound familiar? Yeah. I thought so. Those too, are gifts, my friend.

 

Sometimes it’s even more subtle than that, though.

For instance, how often do you find yourself thinking something like this?

      Oh that’s good, but it you know it’s not gonna last.

      I did a pretty decent job that time, but you know it was just luck.

      Everything worked out today, but that was probably just a fluke.

 

And then, our family favorite:

      God gives me just enough to hold my head above water, thank goodness.

We say that all the time around our house. And until fairly recently, I didn’t think anything about it. No one else did either. We meant it as praise.

It DOES seem like we all get just what we need to get by. It DOES seem like we get just what we need to get through, to make it, to survive.

So that made sense to me, and I was quite grateful for it. Grateful to ‘just get by’.

Until about a year ago when I began learning more, and thinking more, about the power of mindset. I listened to a series of speakers, read a number of blogs, thought about the way my own life was going.

 

Counted my blessings. Looked at my (self-imposed) limitations.

 

And realized that the Universe is full of abundance and wonder, and that good things come to us all the time – if we’ll SEE them, and receive them. In fact, I believe that the loving force that is behind the creation of all energy and matter WANTS us to receive that abundance in FULL.

Call it what you will – God, Spirit, the Universe, Higher Power…we are meant to be fulfilled. And then some.

Look around you at the power and glory of Nature. Nothing is done half way, is it? Nothing is “just enough”, is it? Why should it be any less so, for us?

The secret to finding that abundance, in part, is to LOOK for it.

But another part of the secret is to stop pushing good things AWAY.

Think about it this way.

If you push away all the positives (compliments, good news, a sense of pride, offers for help, awareness of beauty)…

…but accept all the negatives (criticisms, bad news, feeling bad about mistakes, focus on what’s not so beautiful)…

How do you think you’ll end up?

Sick. Unhappy. Defeated. Certainly not Confident.

All in all – it’s not good.

So the next time someone offers you a gift – of their time, resources, strength, patience, support – receive it well, with grace.

And the next time something GOOD happens to you (or comes FROM you), pay attention. Watch your thoughts. FIGHT the urge to discount and minimize. ACCEPT the good – as is. With grace.

Betcha things start getting better.

A favorite quote of mine came to me from a client I love who’s active in AA. (Twelve Steppers have a ton of ’em. And they’re some of the best.)

If you change the way you look at things,

the way things look will change.

Got it?

Try it.

Then tell me how it goes in the comments below. :)

 

*****

Want to get in the loop to know about our next Secret Adventure?

Tell me so in your comments below and I’ll be sure you get an invitation!

Click HERE to learn more about our

Courage to Confidence Year End Celebration on Dec. 2.

(It’s FREE. You should come!)

Click HERE to join us as we put the Joy back in January with our

Not-So-Secret Mid-Winter WEEKEND Adventure.

*****

CAN’T FIND THE COMMENT TOOL?

It’s a tiny box graphic at the top right corner of this post.

Until I can get some design help with this page,

You’ll have to REALLY want to Speak Up to find it.

Please do, because I love to hear from you!

Photo Credits: Wendy Pitts Reeves