INSPIRING PEOPLE TO LEAD UNCOMMON LIVES
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“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Does your intellect match your character?
They're gone now. I stood in the driveway and watched my grown children drive off into the distance. I looked down the road until I could no longer see their vehicles.
"They live way too far away from me", I said to myself. "When did they grow up and become parents of small children? Shouldn't that be me?"
I slipped back inside the house and just walked through the rooms for no reason in particular. I was just missing them already and looking for signs of their having been here. There were pillows on the floor where they had been tossed from the couch that had been used for a bed and a few stuffed animals lying around where the children had been playing.
I smiled at the little fingerprints on my mirror. I didn't wipe them off. I thought back to the time when I tried so hard to keep the fingerprints off the mirrors and doors when my children were small. Now, I wanted the tiny fingerprints to stay so that I could see them there just a little longer. Oh, I knew I would eventually clean the glass doors and the mirror but for now, they remained a work of art, a collage of tiny fingerprints for my viewing.
As I walked around the house, I picked up a few items on the floor and straightened a chair. I decided to sort through the toy box and I found a flying dinosaur, a skeleton, and a Frankenstein that had mysteriously taken up residence in my box of toys. It always amazes me how Ben, the five-year-old connoisseur of toys, remembers the items in the toy box and knows whom they belong to and if anything is missing.
I walked into the kitchen and there on the back of the sink was a bottlebrush that had been left behind. "Ah, even Tessa left something behind," I announced. Well, I suppose she had help since she is just four months old.
"I wonder what else has been left behind," I said out loud to no one in particular. My husband heard me and joined the search for things left behind.
It seems like every time our family gets together something is left behind. When I call my children to tell them what they have left behind I am usually told, "Oh, just bring it when you come.", "Keep it for me until I come back the next time", or "Hey, I really need that, would you mind mailing it to me?"
"Oh look! Here's Tegan's tooth," I said to my husband as I picked up a Ziplock bag with her name engraved on it. Tegan had a loose tooth and had managed to wiggle it out earlier in the day. "Now, she can't put it under her pillow. I wonder if it will work if I put it under my pillow. The Tooth Fairy is going to be so confused!" I laughed.
"Here's a pair of tennis shoes," Mike said. "And three socks!" He added.
Maybe the mystery of extra socks in the dryer has been solved. Perhaps some people are wearing three socks at a time!
"Hey, Ben left his rubber spider," I said to my husband.
"Oh, it will be here when he comes back." He replied.
"Not if I can help it." I said as I recalled my last encounter with the creepy artificial arachnid. I remembered how Ben had giggled like crazy the first time I had seen one of his monster spiders he had placed in a strategic place for me to find. He loves to see me jump and he is never disappointed since making Grammy jump doesn't take much with or without spiders.
"You just never know when you might need a huge black spider that looks and feels real." I said as I hastily threw it in the box with the shoes to mail to my daughter.
"I hope she doesn't have a heart attack when she opens the box but then I imagine she's pretty used to rubber spiders by now."
I walked on around the house finding more things that had been left behind: A toothbrush, a ponytail band, an angel figurine, a pie pan, a frozen teething ring in the freezer, and last but not least the insides of a turkey fryer.
I was really kind of enjoying myself. It gave me something to do after they left to take my mind off of missing them.
Then my eyes teared up as I noticed the baby outfit beside the sink where it had been left to dry after spots had been scrubbed out of it. The little outfit, now stain free, reminded me of the trip to the emergency room with Rowan due to a gash on her head that was caused from a flower pot pulled over by her curious little fingers.
"Hmmm, things left behind. . .", I pondered to myself. It seems there is one thing that is left behind on every occasion. Memories are always left behind, I reasoned, and what a precious thing good memories are to us. I thought how each item left behind reminded me of the person it belonged to and the story surrounding it. The insides of the turkey fryer that was left behind reminded me of the delicious Thanksgiving meal that we all enjoyed. The empty pie pan reminded me of Katie's delicious pies. The angel figurine reminded me of the white elephant gift exchange game that we play every year. Even the bad memory of Rowan's injury reminded me of how frightened I was at the sound of her cry. It is a bad memory that turned into a good one as it reminded us of how precious little Rowan is to us.
Memories happen even if we aren't aware of it. The stressful and difficult moments often become memories that we look back on later with laughter and joy. They are the stories of the future when one day someone will say, "Remember when…?", and everyone laughs.
Then, of course, there are some memories that need to be left behind. The memories of past hurts, unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger should be left behind forever. These are the things that we should never keep until the next time, mail back, or bring with us to our next visit.
Yes, I stood in the driveway and watched my grown children drive off into the distance and I remembered my own parents once doing the same thing. I never knew then that I would one day be the one waving from the driveway and feeling my heart drive off down the road. That's because there is one more thing besides memories left behind ... and that is love.
"To have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone
Written by Pamela Perry Blaine
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” - Albert Pine
What was the last thing you did for someone who could never repay you?
John Mariotti, president of the Enterprise Group, says the role of the leader is:
1. To create a clear understanding of the current reality and a healthy dissatisfaction with the current situation.
2. To help develop a shared vision of a more desirable future situation.
3. To create the belief that there is a viable path from the former to the latter.
4. To create an environment in which people are motivated to embark on the journey to that future.
He also suggests that the responsibilities of a leader are:
1. To help the organization remove or overcome obstacles on the journey.
2. To assure that the resources needed for the journey are available or can be obtained.
3. To provide encouragement, honest feedback (positive and negative), and continued support during that journey.
4. To take part in the journey.
From: Leadership...with a human touch, April 4, 2000, Page 9-10
“Not on one string are all life’s jewels strung.” - William Morris
What would your life’s jewels consist of?
“Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.” - Janet Lane
Do people know how you feel just by looking at you?
It's now a scientifically established fact: When most people look at a hill ahead of them, they significantly overestimate how steep it is.
The Chicago Tribune reported that in a series of experiments on perceptual bias run by psychologists from the University of Virginia, volunteers estimated that a hill with a 10-degree slant was 30 degrees, while five-degree hills were rated as 20-degree slants.
Still, there is a silver lining in this inability to correctly evaluate a hill's "difficulty." In fact, researchers said, these misconceptions may be helpful, rather than posing a problem.
Dennis Proffitt, who conducted the study, told the newspaper: "The overestimations are functional. They help people pace themselves when ascending hills and may even prevent people from undertaking climbs that would be too difficult."
Lesson for Leaders: Just because a task appears easy to your experienced eye, don't dismiss the apprehension of others who have a more limited frame of reference. Let them set their own pace. Assuming there's no particular rush, learning by doing will prove more beneficial in the uphill struggle.
Payoff: If they complete the task with greater ease than expected, they'll have learned more than just how to do the job. They'll have a new basis for more correctly evaluating the difficulty of future challenges and newfound courage to attempt what appears to be even more difficult feats next time.
From: Leadership...with a human touch. April 4, 2000. Page 3
“Of all the properties which belong to honorable people, not one is so highly prized as that of character.” - Henry Clay
How would others rate your character?
“Don’t bother people for help without first trying to solve the problem yourself.” - Colin Powell
When you see a problem, do you also see a solution?
“I am in you and you in me, mutual in divine love.” - William Blake
How often do you make yourself a priority?
“Create your future from your future, not your past.” - Werner Erhard
What have you learned from your past mistakes that you can apply to your future success?
That the Blind May See
There was a blind girl who hated herself purely for the fact she was blind. The only person she didn’t hate was her loving boyfriend, as he was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry him.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her – now she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”
The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:
“Just take care of my eyes dear.”
Moral of the story: When our circumstances change, so does our mind. Some people may not be able to see the way things were before, and might not be able to appreciate them. There are many things to take away from this story, not just one.
“To be born free is an accident. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility.” - General Robby Risner
What freedoms do you have that you take for granted?
Relationships - of all kinds - are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold on to some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.
By: Kaleel Jamison, The Nibble Theory, Paulist Press as printed in Leadership...with a human touch, April 4, 2000, Page 7
“Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.” - Henry Fielding
What do your trials say about you?
I have reinvented myself numerous times over my professional career.