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Branded

5 Mar

How we are perceived by others is sometimes the result of what we’ve done in the past.  Our personal behavior as we move through different situations may color what other people think of us and how much influence we carry.  We often hear about personal branding and how important it is to make sure ours represents what we want it to portray.  It’s a complicated issue and people may use all kinds of measuring factors regarding it.  We may have no idea how we’re being judged, and who we really are may have nothing to do with the impressions others may assume.  It’s dangerous to label people, and although we can’t prevent anyone from assuming things about us, we can refuse to judge those around us the same way.  Branding is important in business, and how successful we are managing it will sometimes decide whether we are entitled to some opportunities.  But in our personal lives, branding may be harmful and destructive.  Although we need information to make good decisions, basing any judgement on hearsay, or rumor, or assuming people will do anything before they have the chance to try will never bring us success.  We learn about people as we interact with them.  Every time we meet with them, talk to them, or work with them we learn more about them and as we get to know them can decide how our relationship will be defined.  The world is a big place and there are infinite human expressions and experiences.  Instead of believing what we hear, we can allow others to show us who they are, and trust our personal wisdom moving forward to make the best decisions.

Everyone judges situations and those around them.  It’s a natural reflex and when we see someone who is very much like someone else we’ve known we may make assumptions about who they are.  We may instinctively assign all kinds of traits to them simply because they remind us of a previous situation.  If we don’t have much interaction with them, those reminders may stay in place indefinitely.  But everyone is different.  Even people who look alike or act alike are not the same.  Assumptions are dangerous and are sometimes based on fiction.  We are wise enough to set aside any pre-conceived ideas about anyone and let them show us who they are.  We can be open to building relationships going forward.

There may be times in our lives when we may be judged or excluded from something we desire because of a previous situation.  Perhaps we didn’t manage something the way others felt was best, or we got caught up in some drama where there was no way to win.  Life is complicated and sometimes we end up in places that convolute our path for a time.  We all go through unexpected situations, but nothing is permanent.  Change is constant, and we learn as we go.  No matter what has happened in the past, we can be confident moving forward that we will make excellent decisions and choose the right road.  We can find success ahead and achieve any goal we desire.

Today if you’ve judged someone without knowing them, let them show you who they are.  Be welcoming and keep the doors open.  There is great blessing in sharing our lives with others.  Refuse to brand and label those around you, and learn about them as you go.  Your life will be richer, and your relationships will be stronger.

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Pause

19 Dec

When we’re working on completing a goal or pushing through an important project, the last thing we want is an interruption. However, this is life and unexpected developments come to all of us. When they do and we’re busy we may push them off in order to get back to the task at hand. It’s good to be focused and nobody wants to go around in circles with continual detours. But some things may happen that need our attention and ask us to stop for a moment to address them. If something happens to someone around us where they are hurt or confused, or need our help, we can stop what we’re doing and turn our focus to them. Projects, goals and deadlines are important but nothing is more valuable than the human spirit. Often what is needed won’t take long before we’re back on track again, and the time spent giving assistance may change someone else’s life. Being the best we can be isn’t just about what we accomplish but about the attributes we gain as we travel forward. Who we are is far more important than what we’ve done. Achieving goals, being ambitious and getting things completed are all great assets. Becoming compassionate, caring and kind are attributes that will change our perspective and benefit the entire world. We can accomplish anything we set out to do but we don’t have to get it all done today. If someone needs us, really needs our help, we can take a break from the journey and share our lives with them. When we do, we will find greater joy and a deeper understanding of who we are and what we really want.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision when we’re trying to complete something. We can tune out everything around us and become immersed only in what we want to do and where we want to go. We may not hear other voices, we may not see anything but the road ahead, and we may miss a lot of information as we push through. If we are oblivious to everything but what we want to accomplish, we may miss the needs of a friend, or the request for help when someone is falling. Our goals are important but keeping them in perspective will help us live our lives more fully and effectively. We can be open to what’s going on around us even when we’re pushing forward, be available when someone needs us, and still accomplish the goal.

Pausing to help someone is thoughtful and kind but we may get into a situation where someone abuses our kindness. We can evaluate each situation objectively and decide how much we can offer. We can be helpful and still manage our time carefully to ensure we achieve what is most important. There isn’t anything we can’t do and being mindful of those around us and managing our time will help us succeed.

Today if you’ve only been focused on the goal you want to achieve and zoned everything else out, look around. If there is a need, offer your help. You can accomplish your goals and still be available to those around you. Learn to be giving and compassionate, and carry those attributes forward. Share your life with others and everything you desire will come to you. Be a gift to the world. You have the power to change everything.

Who We Are

5 Oct

When people ask who we are we may give them descriptions of our lives. We are siblings, children, parents, grandparents, friends, co-workers, professionals, laborers and dozens of others. All of these representations help people understand us and our place in life but they don’t really define who we are. They are merely what circumstances we were born into or where we are in our lives. Who we are goes far deeper than any outward descriptor. It’s what defines us morally, ethically, spiritually, and individually, and is reflected by the actions we take. Our true selves are defined by the choices we make and the values we express. It has little to do with what others expect and more to do with what we expect from ourselves. We set our own personal standards and how we define what is noble and good is reflected in the people we become. We can bring goodness and light to the world or we can bring trouble and conflict. We can be anything we choose and everything we do will show the world what those decisions are. There are endless opportunities in life to make an impact. What that impact looks like is our decision. We can bring joy or sorrow. It’s all up to us.

Most people try to do well and be kind to those around them. We see incredible acts of goodness when trouble strikes as people step up to assist and carry those around them. We hear of heroic acts that save lives and incredible sacrifice that brings comfort. When others give selflessly to those around them it embellishes us and gives us hope for the future. Those willing to give bring great blessings to us all. Our connections to the human race are strong and more valuable than we may realize until things go wrong. We can choose to be noble and kind. We can be a light when there is nothing but darkness and the hand that reaches up when things go wrong.

Personal nobility is a choice we make. It’s easy to coast through life doing the minimum needed to get by. We can keep our eyes only on ourselves and our personal needs and refuse to get involved in anything outside our private world. If we do, we may feel safer in our routines and secure knowing what to expect. But if we take the chance to reach out and help others, and risk our personal comfort to extend ourselves in service, our lives will be enriched and we will become more connected to those around us. We can be anything we choose. Choosing to be noble and kind, selfless and loving, and helpful and charitable, will bring us incredible blessings and enrich our lives beyond our imagining. We have so much to offer. We can be the very best versions of ourselves and bless the world.

Today if you’ve been keeping to yourself, think about sharing your life with others. Look up. There are opportunities to help and serve all around you. Reach out and expand your focus. There is greatness and nobility inside you. Build on it and let it grow. You have so much to offer. Be the best you can be and you’ll change the world.

Let Me

3 Oct

Life is unpredictable and our situations can change in an instant. One minute we may be traveling along confidently and then suddenly something may happen and everything is completely overturned. We cannot predict what will come and we never really know what lies ahead. If we’re forced into a new reality without warning that has upset our stability and foundation, we may be unsure or concerned about how to proceed. If our lives have been upended and we can’t find our footing, the simple offer of help from someone else can feel like a lifeline going forward. When someone steps in and says, “Let me,” we may feel enormous relief. The offer from someone else to help, to lift, and to assist can be priceless when we are overcome. Nobody can do everything all the time and we all face moments when we need help. The gift of service from those around us can make even the darkest moments lighter. We’re all in this together. In times of crisis, in moments of doubt, and situations of uncertainty, the gift of someone willing to walk with us, to hold us up, and help us face whatever is before us, is the most treasured gift we could receive. Letting others in when we are overcome, and allowing them to help us move forward will enable us to withstand any storm or trial. There isn’t anything we can’t do but we all need help from time to time. That help will allow us to move forward with confidence and enable us to aide others once our trial has passed. Life is all about learning and each experience teaches us valuable lessons. We can move through every challenge with others standing beside us and find success together.

We are all connected far more deeply than we may realize. The depth of our connection is often visible when disaster strikes and people are suffering. There are countless stories of selfless heroism in the face of danger. When we see others in challenging situations who need help, we can stand firm and say, “Let me.” Offering our strength when others are weak will enlarge us and make us equal to the task. We have so much to offer and sharing it with those around us sustains them through the trial and enriches us.

When we serve others, our lives are enhanced and refined. The act of giving often returns more to us than anticipated. The blessings of service are limitless and our compassion for those around us will increase when we serve. Trouble comes to us all. Offering our help and receiving help from others builds our connections and makes our world stronger.

Today if someone near you is struggling, offer your help and assistance. Do what you can to encourage and support. Strengthen your connections to others through service. If you’re facing a trial and feel overwhelmed, allow others to lift you and help you through. You are never alone and all the help you need is there for you. Be strong, be brave, and go forward with confidence. There isn’t thing we can’t do together.

Take My Hand

7 Jul

There are many joyous experiences in our lives but sometimes things can be complicated. There are times in everyone’s life when things go wrong and we feel overwhelmed, or sad, or unsure, or lost. We may struggle to find our way, we may search for answers, we may find it difficult to keep going and we may feel hopeless. During times like those it’s hard to see the sunshine with all the clouds that encompass us. It can feel like everyone’s life is better than ours and it can be a bleak period to endure. During our darkest moments if someone reaches out to us and says, “Here, let me help you. Take my hand,” everything changes. The compassion of someone near can break through pain and pull us up from misery. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to lift us from the gloom, and when we look up again, we can finally feel we’ll survive. There is nothing more powerful than the human touch. When we’re desperate, lonely, sad, overwhelmed or any of the other difficult emotions we’re going through, someone’s offer to “Take my hand,” can be priceless. It can turn the tide back to our shore and help us find our way home again.

There are countless experiences in our lives that teach us many things. We learn by doing and each new thing teaches us something valuable we can take with us. Some of the lessons are easy, even fun, but some are more difficult. When we’re going through trials and feel beset it can be hard to see the end from where we’re standing. The road we have to traverse can look impossibly long and if we are heartbroken because of the experience, can feel impossible to navigate. We may feel isolated, lost in the confusion, and alone without help but when someone reaches out for us, everything changes. The kindness of someone close who is willing to listen and offer support can turn the tide.

Our lives are busy and we have much to accomplish. There are others around us most of the time and if we look up we may see someone struggling. Maybe it’s a physical challenge that is pressing them, or maybe it’s personal. We don’t have to pry but we can step up, offer our help, and listen. We can be a safe harbor for someone else’s storm and when we are they are lifted, and we are blessed. Nothing brings more blessing or personal joy than helping others. We can be the one to say, “Take my hand,” and offer help and encouragement. There is nothing more tender than true compassion. We can offer it and when we do lives change. We have so much to give. We can change the world.

Today if you’re overwhelmed with a challenge that has been difficult and someone offers to help, let them lift you and share the burden. There isn’t anything you can’t do. If someone near you is struggling, offer your hand and support. You have so much to give. We’re all blessed because you’re here.

Sharing It

3 May

When we are young, most of us are taught to share. We’re encouraged to share our crayons and our toys, sometimes our food or treats, and in doing so we learn how to give. As we get older sometimes we lose focus of the blessings that come from sharing. We’re busy taking care of ourselves and making sure our needs are met. We manage our time and our possessions and may hold them tightly in order to control them. Although it’s important to control our lives effectively, we can still include others in them as well. There is a lot of need in the world. Some of it’s financial and we may certainly give to a limitless number of programs or projects, but some of the need is personal. Not all needs are material in nature. We all need compassion, kindness and consideration. And our capacity to share those things is virtually endless. Unlike our checkbooks, there is no limit to what we can share emotionally. If we’re having a good day we can boost those around us. We can choose to be kind and engaged instead of rude and aloof. We can be polite and helpful and when we are, we share our very best.

The world is a big, complicated place with all kinds of problems and issues. Because we have so much access to what’s going on everywhere we can see suffering and trouble every moment of every day. Unfortunately, those who produce our news stories focus on all the negative things that are happening all the time. And there is no end to trouble. But with all that duress and strife, there are people doing well. There are people helping each other, caring for one another, easing each others’ burdens, and sharing what they can to make things better. We rarely hear about those stories but the people sharing their lives in service to others are the ones really changing the world. Sometime it’s not the big events that make the lasting changes. Sometimes it’s the small gift of personal charity that turns everything around.

We don’t have to do huge, impressive acts of kindness to make a change in the world. The smallest thing – helping someone who’s fallen get back up – can turn things around for others. We can be kind and share goodness with those around us and make a big impact on the world. Of course we can share our money and our food and our possessions and those are all helpful. But when we share ourselves by being kind and considerate, when we reach higher to be more present and available to others, and when we do a little more to serve those around us, the world becomes a better place. Lives are lifted and we impact everything for good. We have an unlimited ability to be loving and caring. If we focus on sharing those attributes with others, everything will be better. Our lives will be more fulfilled and those around us will feel happier. We have so much to offer. If we remember to share it, we can change the world.

Today remember to offer your kindness to those around you. Be polite and caring in all your dealings and your impact on the world will be great. You have nobility inside you. Show it to others. Be the change we all want to experience. You have so much to offer. Share it with those around you today. And you will change the world.

Dropped the Ball

17 Mar

We all generally try to do our best every day. We try to make good decisions, try to be nice to those around us, and basically strive to be good people. But sometimes things get away from us and we fumble the ball. Maybe we get carried away in conversation and forget a commitment, say something we don’t really mean, or take revenge on someone we feel has hurt us in some way. When we act in ways that are beneath what we really want for ourselves we may feel really bad later, and if we let those we care about down, the disappointment in their eyes can be crushing. But we’re only human and we’re going to falter from time to time. Perfection is after all the goal and not the achievement. And so when we stumble and do the wrong thing, we have to find a way to make things right again. We have to listen when those we’ve negatively impacted tell us how they feel, and we have to take our lumps because we’ve earned them. It’s normal to make mistakes from time to time. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it doesn’t mean we don’t care, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t worthwhile. It just means we dropped the ball. And if we did, we can pick it right back up again.

Personal shame is a horrible feeling. Shame may be one of the most destructive emotions we can feel. It can not only make us feel bad about something we’ve done, if we aren’t careful, it can make us feel bad about who we are. If we feel great shame, depression may soon follow. We may believe that we’ll never get things right, that we’ll always screw up, and that we aren’t worth anything to anyone. But none of that is true. Just because we make a mistake doesn’t mean we never do things right. We often get it right and we are worth more than we can even imagine, even when we falter. If we play a game and drop the ball we may get a penalty, but we aren’t banned from the game forever more. It’s the same in life. If we go the wrong way, we aren’t finished. We just need to turn around and correct our course.

The penalties we face when we make mistakes should be commensurate with the negative impact they cause. Just like in law, the penalty should fit the crime. The same is true with our personal lives. If we forget to bake a promised batch of cookies, it shouldn’t destroy a relationship. But if we lie, cheat, and manipulate others, that might be the cost. It’s like a pendulum – it should swing equally in both directions. That’s important to remember when someone we care about lets us down. If we can keep our perspective when we tell them how we feel and don’t return more chastening than is needed, we have a better chance of preserving our relationships. We all make mistakes and sometimes we hurt others because of them. But nobody really wants to do things wrong and when we do, we deserve the opportunity to make things right again. Our relationships are important. Truly valuing them will help us heal and forgive as we move along.

Today if you’ve dropped the ball and someone has been hurt, you can pick it back up again. Offer to make things right and do everything you can to correct your course. If someone has made a mistake that has hurt you, remember when you’ve faltered and offer the chance for them to fix things. You can be kind and understanding. Extend your hand to turn things around and forgive. You’ll be able to make things better and you’ll be happier because of it.