The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.
It’s funny how fear can paralyze you. I’m talking about the fear of rejection. The fear of putting yourself out there. Either I shut down or talk about inane things, just so I don’t have to say what I really want to say. But…there are times when it propels me into a juggernaut! In other words, fear either totally immobilizes me or makes me act stupid! For example, I was asked to present on a subject very near and dear to me to some of my company’s managers during a conference call. As I had plenty of time beforehand, I prepared my speech. Piece of cake! Beautiful? Not!!! Epic fail! My hands got sweaty, my mouth dry and I could barely even read it. And I am quite sure that the speed reading monotone I used could earn me the Oscar this year! Then comes team games and sports. Even when I’m pretty sure I know the answer, I am so afraid of being wrong or letting the team down that I don’t assert myself. Big mistake! Then there are the personal things like friends, kids, family members, co-workers, etc…I will watch them walk away and I can’t move or say a word. When they are gone I will fall apart because: A) I hurt them B) They hurt me C) A miscommunication happened and it grew bigger instead of being cleared up D) I either communicated ridiculously or failed to communicate at all, thereby conveying the message that I didn’t care when in fact, the complete opposite was true. I cared too much….
So where does this leave me on the brink of my reinvention? A new commitment, to acknowledge that it is not always easy for me, to share that information with the party that my attempt at typical communication may in actuality look like sabotage. To stop, think and breathe and say what I think, despite the outcome!
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
~ John F. Kennedy
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
This evening I attended my first meet up for PIF People. What is PIF? Pay it forward! This group was started by a friend of mine 2 years ago and has been in the making since. The main premise is that it’s members will be watching for ways to perform random acts of kindness as well as ways to pay it forward. This evening we received our PIF cards and we will be tracking all the cards to see where they end up and how many times each one is “forwarded”
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I remember my very first example of PIF, before it had a name. Before kids in school were given the assignment to perform random acts of kindness, before there was a movie. My father had done something for me. I don’t remember what it was. I don’t remember if I was already a parent or still a kid. I just remember that I was so grateful and I knew it would be hard to repay him. He told me that the only repayment he expected was for me to do the same for my children. My first lesson in paying it forward. One I’ve never forgotten.
Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him. ~Albert Schweitzer
Last week, a man approached me and offered to wash my desperately dirty car for $10. My inclination was to say no. I felt a little bit intruded upon. He said ok how about $5? I was meeting friends and already a little late. Again, I shook my head no (a little less emphatically this time) He said to me “Please, lady, whatever you want to give me. I have no gas to get home.” He washed my car. It was cleaner than it had been in weeks. I gave him $10. He had enough money to go home. I went to meet my friends, a little late and a little lighter in my pocket but a whole lot lighter in my heart.
To learn more about our PIF People click HERE
For a touching example of PIF, please watch this….
Last summer, I had the incredible honour to travel to Ghana with my company for an 8 day clinic. We saw a total of 9051 people! It goes without saying that this was an AMAZING experience! I spent several months prior to my trip, picking out little toys, treats and gifts for the young children we would treat as well as relevant gifts for the young adults who would be our translators. I also attempted to learn a few words and study a bit of the culture. As I emptied my suitcase of all it’s treasures, I filled my heart with so many more. There is no question in my mind that I gained an abundance of wealth in my very short 2 week stay. My gains: Having the privilege of getting to know the beautiful and generous people of Ghana and learning about their customs and ways. Noting both the differences as well as the similarities of our people.The camaraderie of arriving and working with 44 dedicated and passionate individuals. The sheer wonder of being a part of something that is BIGGER than we are!
It was explained to us that we would each have a translator. Whew! Turns out, most of the people spoke English (including the very young children) The only people who didn’t speak English were either very old or from one of the tribes.
Our translators, young Ghanaian high school or college students didn’t speak just 2 languages. Most of them spoke multiple languages including several of the tribal languages. Their help proved invaluable, not only in their language skills but mainly in knowing the people and helping them to understand what we were doing and why. And by giving us the insight to better care for their people.
I found these people to be very intelligent and quite clever. Having raised 2 bi-lingual children, it has always been my contention that children who know at least 2 languages from birth tend to learn and catch on much quicker. Imagine these children who know 5 or 6 different languages? Another remarkable thing I noted was their love and care for each other. Ghana may be small compared to the US but at almost 25million people, you wouldn’t expect the familiarity with each other that we witnessed. There is a beautiful article about Africa and Bishop Desmond Tutu. He talks about the African word, Ubuntu-the essence of being human. “We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”
Where is our connectedness? When was the last time you helped the person in front of you in line as they struggled with keys, a baby, their cart, whatever? When was the last time you stepped up to the plate to give a hand to your brotha or sistah?
If you would like to read my blog about the trip, Click Here:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
― Albert Einstein
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of inspirational, motivational quotes. Many of them published by groups with the word “positive” as part of their name or description. They’re good. They are REALLY good. When I find one I especially like, I put it on a “sticky note” and post it on my desk top. Sometimes I write it on a Post-it® – and put it somewhere I can see at appropriate moments.I have bags of these all over my house. I love these little sayings.For the most part, they make me want to be that person. The hope, the strength, the morality….all of it so admirable. Sometimes I look around and recite each one in my collection. Almost like a mantra.They make me happy. I have several posted on my Facebook page. Check it out!
“I have notes in my bathroom, yellow notes, and I stick ’em on the mirror, things that happened that were uplifting boosters for me. Notes that say, “Today is special, make today count.” And then I have one note on the mirror in the middle that says, “Look at the other notes.”
― Burt Bacharach