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HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

One Day at a Time: Winning the Battle of Life

Winning is Important

Why?

We want recognition. We want to feel accomplished. We want to be successful.

I hated playing Monopoly when I was younger. My brother was insanely competitive – he still is – and he won almost every game. I was torn and it made me mad,  and not because he won but rather, because I lost. Some of us are better at losing than others. I’m not one of those individuals.

Somehow, I think it is deeper than just not wanting to lose. Like most people, I want to be relevant and, well – winners are relevant. Winners win. Winners get to the finish line first. They walk away with trophies and awards. Their home-baked cookies are the best. They hear applause and approval often. They are happy, aren’t they? Are winners happier than those of us who merely strive but fail?

Who Doesn’t Want to Be Relevant?

It may seem simple. Isn’t that what we all want? Aren’t we all just looking for a smile or a cheer, a pat on the back, a “good job” or “atta boy”, a raise in pay? Is that relevance? Or is that acceptance?

Where does your State of Mind leave you?

I didn’t purchase my first scratch-off lottery ticket until I was 26 years old. I had gone to the mall with a friend on my lunch hour. I was a young mother of two at the time – money was always tight, but I had an extra buck in my pocket and thought, “what the heck?” That very first scratcher was $100 winner. I was shocked, surprised, but most of all – happy. I could afford diapers and maybe a Cinnabon with my little girls that week, our favorite treat!

A year or two earlier, I found myself in a pickle while practicing with my league softball team on an early Saturday morning. I could throw like mad – but my arm was a little wild. I was honing my ability in lengthy practices and found myself in a very good place: playing shortstop with a #1 team with a .822 personal batting average. Until the pickle.

Some guys were waiting to use the field and decided to challenge us “girls” to a quick pick-up game. We, of course, accepted the challenge. I hit a double to deep right and found myself rounding 2nd. Mistakenly, I thought there had been an overthrow, but really – the throw had been to 3rd base, and square in front of me stood a waiting, gnarling 3rd baseman, holding said ball. I screamed and turned, only to find the ball now at 2nd base. Turning again, my cleat caught and my body went one way, while my foot and lower leg stayed planted. A loud pop could be heard. That pop was the ACL in my right leg snapping in half.

I continued to play for several more years, but I lost my position, my batting average dropped, and eventually left the sport, devastated, after six knee surgeries.

Win or Lose

I could have continued to buy lottery tickets, hoping for another winner. I could have curled up in ball and never struck out again. But I didn’t do either. My battle continued, on different fields.

“Defeat is a state of mind. No one is ever really defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee never stopped kicking, never stopped fighting.

Life can Kick You in the Ass

And it often does.

But what are you going to do? Let it? Or dodge those kicks and punches? Just turn the other cheek?

If only it were that easy. Many mornings, I wish it were easy. But I have learned, you just keep going, you just keep moving forward, Victory does not come to those who stand still or those without impetus or drive.

Life’s Battles

Ive had my share, they don’t seem to ease up, so I can’t really afford to. My parents hung a framed copy of my father’s favorite poem in their bathroom – it was titled You Can. I read that damn thing every time I ventured into their private space. Over and over again, committing it to memory over the years. On many a morning, the last verse has gotten me out of bed.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster wo/man.
But sooner or later the wo/man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.

You Can

Some weeks, it’s just one day at a time. Some days, it’s just one step at a time. And some steps, it’s just one moment at a time. When all you can do is find the next moment, that is enough.

And sometimes, that’s all it takes.

HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, LIFESTYLE, PERSONAL GROWTH

Don’t Fear the Script, Rewrite It! – The Passionate Chase

Chasing Away the Script

We spend a great deal of our lives building confidence. Some days, weeks, or months, it doesn’t seem to matter how much experience I have or how many clever skills I have – I can easily get caught up in fear of failure or overwhelming expectations I set for myself. Many of us have a negative script that gets played over and over in our heads – that counts on us failing.

The two greatest fears I’ve had in my life have been falling and failing. Sadly, I am not one of those individuals lucky enough to have flying dreams – I have falling nightmares, though they have receded a bit. I did jump out of a perfectly good airplane a year ago and loved it. So, the falling wasn’t the problem, perhaps  it was more about the landing.

But failure has haunted my days.

What I Learned from Writing

I have spent the last 12 years writing about every part of my life, from earliest memories to latest catastrophes, very few subjects or experiences are off limits. From poetry, to microblogs, to lengthy blog series, to podcasts.

Writing is like giving birth for me. Hitting the wrong key or failing to save a document can lead to disaster or meltdown, and it has happened on numerous occasions.
The first several times, parts of me died with each loss.

But, I Tricked Myself

These were profound moments of loss for me, over time, I learned to tell myself that “It must not have been good enough – I can write that better.” The first time, it took a great deal of self-convincing, but I learned to find the truth in my words because I always produced better words or a more meaningful story.

A State of Mind

Napolean Hill, famed author, stated, “Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” I have seen evidence of this in my own life. And often, all I need to do to get over any particular bump in my road of personal progress is to review my last failure.

  • Where did I land? Was it a crash landing?
  • When I got up, dusted myself off – what was it I learned?
  • When the dust around me cleared, what new experiences had I gained?
  • How did I grow, or can I grow more, as a result?

I do hate failing –

I hate miscalculating, missing a mark, or misjudging any circumstance. But I also know that a serious lesson was meant for me, so I best get to learning it. Even if all I learned was to get up –

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

You Are Not Beaten

And neither am I – it’s just another chance, another opportunity to succeed.


**If you are interested in learning more about “the script,” follow Richard Wilkins on Facebook, he shares some interesting thoughts about this negative script and how we can overcome it. Warning: he uses colorful language, he just keeps it real. 

CONTRIBUTORS, HUMANITY, PERSONAL GROWTH

What It Takes to Go “All Out” in Running and Life

The next time you see someone staggering across a marathon finish line, barely able to walk, or carried by fellow runners because their legs have buckled, don’t feel sorry for them.

Envy them.*

These are people who know what it feels like to give it their all.

So many of us say “I did my best” or “I gave it 100%” but did we truly? Could we have done better, worked harder?

When I first started running in races, I just wanted to survive. I usually went hard enough that I was sore for days but right after the finish, I always felt like I could have run faster .

As I trained more and got in better shape both cardiovascularly and in strength, I did keep getting faster. I still thought I was running as hard as I could, but soon after finishing, I’d lament “I could have run faster.”

If you’re a perfectionist, this is probably the story of your life. “I could have done better, worked harder, put in more time…”

You probably could have. I don’t think hardly any of us have ever reached that extreme, whether athletically or professionally, where we could honestly say “I absolutely went to the limit. That was the best I could possibly do. Any more and I would have collapsed/passed out/won an award.”

It’s a goal of mine to reach that limit at some point, both professional and athletically.

I’m not talking about damaging yourself. Or ruining your health or relationships by being a workaholic.

I’m talking about going so hard, going all out, that there’s no doubt in your mind that you could have done better or gone harder.

Instead of giving a good presentation, you present like a boss.

Instead of covering the basics, you work out every detail.

Instead of running fast, you go so hard that you cross the finish line with your last possible step.

I’m getting closer, but I want that life experience of knowing I gave it my absolute all.

Here’s what it’s going to take:

Practice

In running fast or long, half the battle is getting used to feeling bad. I realize this doesn’t make much of a positive impression on people who are considering running as a sport …

It takes repetition to make the discomfort if not more comfortable, at least tolerable. You learn to keep going, adjust to that feeling, and recover.

This very much applies to business and life. Physical discomfort is sometimes easier to push through than mental discomfort.

We’ve been training ourselves to divide our focus or jump to the next interesting thing. Giving it your all in a writing project, business plan, or marketing campaign often takes long, sustained bouts of thinking and creating which can literally feel painful!

It takes practice to push through that initial desire to stop and do something more interesting or less mentally taxing.

Perception

The first time I ran a sub 80-second 400 meter, I didn’t have a watch on and my Coach didn’t call out splits. I just ran. Like a wild woman!

Maybe I’d never run that fast before because I “knew” I couldn’t run that fast. I would glance at my watch and think I was running as fast as I could.

You KNOW that if you think you can’t do something, you’re usually right. Your perception of yourself is going to influence your outcome.

Don’t measure yourself by your self perception. Sometimes you’ve got run without feedback, without knowing where you are, or measuring against previous performance.

Physiology

Laziness is a survival trait. Understanding that is half the battle.

Your mom was right. Hard work (almost) never killed anyone (it’s the unrelieved stress).

We evolved to do just enough to the get the result we needed. If you were “homo habilis” and you were threatened by a bear, you ran or fought just enough to get to safety.

You didn’t run until you dropped from exhaustion if you didn’t need to. You’d be killed by the next threat that came along because you wouldn’t have the energy to escape that new threat.

Today, most people on this planet are fortunate enough that their daily routine doesn’t include life or death flight or fight situations. If you’ve planned your day or weekend right, you could go to exhaustion Monday through Friday or on a Saturday morning and be safe in assuming you could lounge on the couch the rest of the weekend.

That physiological injunction against going to exhaustion is still very much hard-wired into our brains.

You may run until your brain says you’re “tired” or even “exhausted” but you really aren’t. Your body literally tricks your brain into thinking you’re more tired than you are so you’ll quit or slow down long before you’re completely spent.

Knowing about this mechanism helps you understand the lies your body and brain are telling you.

Jens Voigt, professional cyclist, is famous for his saying “Shut up legs.” He should add “Shut up brain.”

Passion

Whether it’s athletic or professional, stretching yourself that hard is probably going to hurt. You’ll suffer on the path to get there.

You’ve gotta want it badly. If it’s not your passion, your desire, your obsession … you’re just not going to want to go past that “danger signals” point.

This means that going all out is probably going to be limited to just a few things in your life. Maybe only one thing.

Personally, running is one of those things for me. I’ve had a few experiences where I crossed a finish line and could barely lift my legs to get off the track…. And I loved it!

Not the burning pain of lactic acid. Or the searing lungs.

But the feeling that I absolutely put it all out there. Did my best. Laid it on the line. Gave it my all.

I want to feel that feeling again and again and again.

—–
*They’re fine. They’re usually just glycogen depleted and just need rest and carbs. Gonna hurt the next few days though!

Cover photo courtesy of Juan Esparza Loera.

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HR, LIFESTYLE, SIMPLE LIVING

This One’s About the Journey

On the Road Again

It seems as though I have flown almost every September 11th in the last ten years. This year, I was not flying, but rather driving; I am currently on a 3,660-mile road trip, and today finds me in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, not quite at the halfway point. Roadtripping has become a kind of therapy for me. In my past, most road trips have been just “a way to get there” on the cheap. They have been about the destination, not the journey. That changed significantly for me a couple years ago, when I found myself alone, really alone, not knowing too much about my own likes and dislikes. Strange place to be as a 50+ year old. Nevertheless, I have tackled that truth and in the takedown, I found parts of me I never knew existed or had forgotten about.

I am a strong woman with many weaknesses.

Not sure how that came to be, but it is certainly true and…, not one to shy away from the truth, I find myself digging in and trying to expose how I got to where I am. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time and place, can one ever? For I feel we are consistently moving to a place where exposition is how we survive with our integrity in tact.

Exhausted by Life

It is easy to get tired – it would be easy to just go with the flow and not make waves. As many can attest, that would be strongly against my nature. So, I expose myself to situations where I will learn, where I can grow, where change is not only imminent but necessary.

The first three days of my adventure found me in St. George, Utah with about 20 women from my family – our annual Thorn Women’s Retreat (Estro-Fest) was another smashing success. Next year will mark 25 years of this particular gathering. I have not been able to attend every year, but when I have gone, I have been strengthened and empowered by the women I am lucky enough to call family.

The Other Destination

While there is a business destination involved in my travels, I have wrapped a dropped pin with self-discovery. 3600+ miles does not scare me, nor will it scar me. It will fulfill something in me that is needed. Time in my head – to clear the cobwebs woven by hurt and anger – as well as releasing the stress that work can sometimes bring – and I am one of those crazies that works on vacation. Certain emotions tend to be felt more deeply or have a stronger impact, I believe anger and hurt call into that category.

journey

The Destination

My company, Dovetail Software is attending/exhibiting an annual event for Healthcare Human Resources in Seattle this weekend – The ASHHRA Conference. I love this event – it’s one of my favorites and I have attended a number of times. I will walk the aisles, speak with other vendors that support Healthcare HR and learn as much as I can from the practitioners there for erudition. There will be plenty for my team to take in, as we want to benefit clients, as well as make sure we are presenting the full benefits of what Dovetail offers.

Many years ago, I worked for a healthcare-specific search firm as an executive recruiter – this is where I cut my teeth in recruiting, in human resources.  It is strange but going to this conference always feels like going home. And, with the many changes in recruiting and HR over the last fifteen years, it is always a strange homecoming – like when your parents get new furniture, though you’ve been gone from home for 20+ years.

Change is Good

Like so many others, I have felt the pain of change in life and career. Life goes on and thank God for that.  We are often faced with what ifs and could’ve beens – it is when we see clearly, when we know the choices that were initially painful to make, when we see them through the lenses of today, that we know the choices we made were the right ones.

And while not necessarily pain-free, they are right, correct, the best, the way it should be.  I am happy where I am now. Work is fulfilling and life / love continue to be a gamble. And who doesn’t love a spin at the roulette table?

And so it goes.  Change is inevitable and usually for the better.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

HUMANITY

Change for Good: Playing and Praying for Texas

I first started blogging on Myspace. It was my initial experience with writing online and I fell in love with it — I found a voice that had been buried since college creative writing classes and I discovered new things about myself every time I hit publish. As social media grew and how I connected with the world changed as a result of social and mobile technologies, I changed. I became bold and an avid storyteller. I shifted my “creative writing” platform from Myspace to Facebook to RecruitingBlogs to Blogging4Jobs to Intrepid.Media – it has been a 15-year process of progress and I can’t say I have enjoyed ever minute of it, but I have evolved and changed. Which is what progress is, correct? Here’s to progress…

Writing for Change

As I consider all I have written about and all that has occurred in my life since 9/11 – change and growth has been a direct result. I was not in NYC on that day of death, destruction, hatred, and fear, but I can easily trace significant personal change back to that morning, while I sat with my four young children and we watched, as did the world, what looked like the end of the world as we knew it. It was the jolt I needed to wake up in my own life. Less than a month later, I ended my destructive marriage and it was time for me to do what America and New York City would have to do – slowly, embrace life again, rebuild, love, and triumph – rise like a phoenix from ashes of terror.

This Week’s Wrath

While Harvey and nature have been the terrorists this week in Texas, I am seeing similar stories as those revealed on 9/11 – stories of heroism and love, trust and glory rise higher than the waters. Destruction, death, and fear have pushed out hatred — hatred will not win this battle.

There have been those who have lost everything. We have seen stories of tragedy and survival – there are many more to come as Houston, Beaumont, and the many areas affected by the hurricane come to the next place, the place where the waters recede and life and livelihoods begin the clean-up and plan for the next phase of recovery.

We are, we will…

We are humanity. We will survive. We will rebuild and renew. And we will do this together. Many have come together to help – to rescue, to donate needed items, to raise fund, to assist. It is easy to feel helpless – those that feel that way should only be those still standing in water. Give where you can. 

But I am so far away

I live in Laguna Beach, nearly 1400 miles from the devastation. Last night, I sat on a cement bench and watched 6 individual musicians busk on a street corner to raise money for those affected. #PlayingForTexas Dozens of people passed by, dropping money in their bucket. You are not helpless to give back. Find a way — even if it is just through prayer or sending positivity and messages of love and compassion.

Every Little Bit Helps.

HUMANITY, PERSONAL GROWTH

He says, “It’s the Chance of a Lifetime” – The Passionate Chase

All My Experiences Have Brought Me Here

I’ve been involved with performing arts in one way or another since I was 3 years old. FYI: that’s 50 years ago, and I don’t mind saying it. I was raised in a home where regular church attendance was required and the church I grew up in allowed for 6-10 opportunities a year to perform or speak in front of a large congregation. By the time I had my first official stage play audition at the tender age of seven – there were no jitters, there was no nervousness. Being on stage felt completely natural to me and I even loved the long rehearsal hours that included staging and memorization, as well as the costume fittings, make-up techniques, and waiting in the wings.

My Favorite Place?

I think one of my favorite places in the world is “waiting in the wings” – it is also a place where nightmares loom if you’ve ever done any kind of performing. In my dreams or recurring nightmares, I have gotten caught in giant dusty curtains, forgotten my lines, missed entrance cues, and fallen off the stage while waiting in those precious wings.

My first lead was at the age of nine, when much to the chagrin of every boy who auditioned, I was cast as Rumplestiltskin in a summer drama class. With my buck teeth, short pixie haircut, sassy ‘tude, coupled with no fear, I would never be cast as the beautiful princess who could spin straw into gold. And I was glad. I felt powerful and I found a place where I was accepted for who I was and the crazy, rambunctious style of my tomboy self.

The Desire of a Child

Up until I was 12 years old, my presumed adult destination and desired occupation was “movie star” – however, being no great beauty, I soon learned that I needed to find alternate paths to success. I read, I studied, I learned to love science, I ignored math as much as I could, but still continued my antics on stage. I knew Hollywood would never come knocking on my door, but my “passion” was always close by.

For many years, I trod the boards. I loved the romantic notion that perhaps the same dust on the stage where I stood had also been at the feet of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Stella Adler, or Uta Hagen. I often walk the dark empty stage pre-performance and before any other actors arrive. It’s an old school attempt at an ancient network connection. This is not unusual – those who embrace the romance of theater have all done this. I am not alone.

Few experiences have caused me more pride or shame. One role saw me delivering a 10-minute monologue in the beginning of the first act, only to never grace the stage again – until the final curtain call. I love the roar of a crowd who had forgotten all about me. Truly satisfying.

The shame?

Not so much fun. I once assistant directed a production of the dark and delightful musical Sweeney Todd. In a small independent theater, you wear many hats – I also coordinated costumes, washing the blood out of many pieces after each of the 25+ performances. I was also the prop mistress, setting props and providing bread dough at each show. On top of all of that, I ran sound during every single production in the dingy hidden tech booth behind the last row of seats at the very back of the theater. I had a business trip a few days before opening night and while I was gone, new CDs replaced those I had practiced with and used in every previous rehearsal. Songs were combined so the numbering of each was off from the notations in my script. 9 minutes in, the music I played no longer matched what was being sung on stage. Knowing my cast was adept at anything, I cut the supportive music until I came to a place where I knew I could sync back up with the cast. For 12 minutes of the show, there was music to back the actors actions or vocals. I was devastated and sorrowful, but the cast? They were furious. Many of them threw their costumes at me and spewed foul language, stating they would never work with me again. I received dirty looks and I think a few actually spit on me every night for the next six weeks, until the run of that particular production was complete. It was truly horrifying and what theater nightmares are made of.

Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment, because MANY productions followed – however, none brought me more pain than the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Live and Learn.

Where Experience Takes You

I’ve had an opportunity to use the skills learned on stage and in the wings in my professional presentations and speeches, the various podcasts I have produced, my 3-year stint on Top Recruiter as well as writing the content and moderating the docu-film, The Art of Recruiting, and a couple short films.

My friend, Walter DuRant and I played husband and wife sixteen years ago in a community theater production of Cheaper By The Dozen he contacted me last spring to play a role in a short film from a screenplay he had written called, “Just Another Meal“- a husband and wife meet to discuss their divorce in what turns out be anything but just another meal. We filmed in June, 2017 and the final edit was released this week. I loved every minute of filming in 95+ degree heat and interestingly enough. I can’t wait to do it again.

The Passionate Chase

Never stop following the passions of your youth or those you find along the way — they were and are planted in you for a reason. Don’t neglect them or forget to dust them off every once in a while. They are the slow fires that burn, they (re)ignite ideas and supercharge career momentum.

Imagine if every opportunity that came your way was viewed as a “chance of a lifetime.”
Just imagine.

*This first blog is the kick-off for my next series, “The Passionate Chase.”

Here’s the released version, which is being submitted to festivals.
Wish us luck!

PERSONAL GROWTH

The Super Power of Balance

“YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU BELIEVE. YOU HAVE GREATER POWERS THAN YOU KNOW.” –ANTIOPE, from Wonder Woman

A Million Different Directions

Many years ago, I was in a stage play called Run for Your Wife written by British playwright Ray Cooney, whose specialty is farce. The story centers around a cabbie named John who falls for two women, marries them both, and proceeds to create two separate lives for himself by setting up two households on the opposite sides of town. Moving from one zany scene to the next, John continually gets away with his double life. Of course, it all comes crashing down in the final scenes when the two wives unwittingly discover each other. Comedy at its finest.

Over the years, I have thought about this show as I have always juggled two or three jobs, plus academics or volunteering. When I first started recruiting, I was also a coach for girls’ sports at the local junior high, oh– and I also worked part-time as a dental assistant for a children’s specialty office. Three jobs and five classes at the local college – oh…, and dare I forget -> single mom to four wonderful children. About six months into this crazy schedule, my recruiting boss pulled me aside and asked me to quit my other jobs – he wanted my focus, he wanted me full-time, and was ready to compensate me for – as well as remove some of the crazy in my life.

I thought about it and became excited at the prospect of a simpler life. Little did I know that simple doesn’t always work for everyone. It doesn’t seem to for me. I have consistently had more than one job since I was in high school.  Old habits die hard.

I have received some great advice over the years – one such piece was to let go of some of the junk in my life, that my work / life balance could be just that – balanced.

Finding Balance

One of the most important things for me has been to recognize my worth and what I contribute to my organization and those around me. It occurred to me, just today, that this will be a lifelong process. It has always been difficult for me to back out of a situation where I think I could help, where I could coach colleagues or friends toward success, or – my greatest curse – being the mom, when I need to be a manager or leader. And while I am getting better at it, I have always had trouble saying no, mostly because I like saying yes. It just feels good to say yes.  And I like to help, I like to make life and work easier for someone else. But I have found joy in saying no, not to mention the power.

Weights & Measures

Personal weights & measures remind me that I am not Wonder Woman, even as much as I would like others to believe. No golden lasso or bullet-deflecting wristbands, I just got shot today and it hurt, apparently my reflexes were too slow for deflection. So what does that mean for me? Where do I go from there? Do I back down and cower in the corner? Not my style. I rise up and be the professional I know I am. I achieve balance once more.

I have a couple surfboards in my garage, along with some stand-up paddleboards. When I first got the paddleboard and tried it – I liked it right away! It required balance on my part, as well as core strength. My friends who were surfers, didn’t like it as much as surfing, because a wave propelling you removed the need for soooo much balance.

Each of us gets our balance from a different place. Sometimes, a massive wave about to crash on our heads is just what we need to move forward and stand up for the ride of our lives. And sometimes, you just need to be steady and paddle on.

“There is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice.” – Simon Sinek

He’s right. I guess I’ll start with why.

HUMANITY

The Night of My Suicide…

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest – Linkin Park

…If you are reading this

suicide

The Words You Never Want to Hear or Read

That simple eloquent phrase can start the beginning of what would normally be news that you didn’t want to hear. I know, because I had the immense displeasure of reading these words once and have also had the phone ring only to hear a friend saying a person was gone; they had taken their own life. You take pause, you wince, you cry, you scream out loud, or in the deep recesses of your mind. The steps of grief begin.

Mental Illness is Taboo in this Country

The terms crazy, insane, delusional, etc. have been stamped out or are only whispered inside homes and hospitals. But we see mental illness everywhere and it is not the homeless I am talking about either, it’s the person sitting across the table from you, the family member that is lying to you when they say they are doing fine, or the pal that stopped taking your calls and you gave up calling.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM!

Sinnead O’conner recently posted a video as a cry for help telling the world that mentally ill people are different; they need help. She is correct and sadly, I sat there and thought, I wonder if anyone will actually reach out to her. Will she become another statistic, another Kurt, Chris, Robin, or Chester? I sure hope not.

Are You Curious?

It makes me curious you know, this is a disease and it kills people, either by their own hand or because the drugs they take slowly eat away at their organs or deliver other horrific side effects. Diseases like Cancer or MS seem to get the best press out there. They get colored wrist bands, banners, full-page ads, athlete spokespersons, and Hollywood stars lining up for endorsement deals to express their anguish. I am not saying that these are not noble causes, for they are, but it seems that the things we can actually see, hear, and feel all around us we walk away from. Why?

Mental health or homelessness is just not sexy enough for people? No money in i, I suppose or does it hit a little too close to home for some people? I am not an expert on this subject but I have been there, I have ached inside – I have wondered at my own existence. And I know I am not alone…

My Story

My fiancée and I had broken up, I had lost my job, and my Great Uncle, a man I owe my success to and dearly loved, had just killed himself – these events all happened within thirty days. There was no safety net to catch me. As they say, “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s that sudden stop at the end.” Depression set in: I didn’t know what that was and I had no one to turn to. I was too afraid to tell anyone I was hurting; I was wounded, alone, and afraid. After a fifth of whiskey and sitting in a chair alone in the dark with only the glow of the idiot box for warmth, thinking there is no promise of a better tomorrow – I crawled into bed with my choice. A choice.

I put the bottle to my temple, drunk, out of my mind, silence in the air, total quiet, a finger on the trigger, so to speak – ready to pull. Comfortable to go, ready to die, ready for it to end, to get to where I was going.

I didn’t. You know this because, well, you are reading this.

And I am thankful.

When You Have an Awakening

I often, too often, have to remind myself of my temper and that I, sometimes, let it get the best of me. It’s mine and I need to own it. And here I am,  making that turn in life where I do not want to be an adult and really wish that could go back to bing a ten year old, running through the sprinklers on a hot Arizona day, laughing uncontrollably with friends that left me all too soon. I sought help, started writing again, and realized that it is and was going to be ok.

After I sent this to two dear and close friends I chose to open up to one of my oldest friends, a man I have known for over thirty years and told him my story. He is a great man, better than most, better than me, that’s for sure. He asked me, in a soft tone, like he often does, “Why did you not reach out or call me?” My answer, I didn’t want to burden you with my problems, man. There is the rub, as Sherlock Homes would say. Here is a man, my closest confidante and in a time of need – a time of burden – and I felt too scared to reach out. In my addled mind, I felt like it was easier to let go.

Think About the Mind, as well

We are so interested in health care that we think only of the body, not the mind. We understand what we can see, you cannot see mental health issues until you know someone in the thick of the battle and then, in that moment – during that time, too many of us just walk away. We don’t know what to do, we whisper about them, we point or laugh, we make inappropriate jokes, and it only twists the dagger. Am I guilty of this? Yes, yes I am.

I know few who are not.

Sheer Will?

Something saved me that night, God, an Angel, the sheer will to live, as a human instinct? I don’t know, don’t want to either. I just know I am here and have chosen to continue, I know I received that chance – it was a gift. There will be many people who read this and say WTF? That’s ok, I am ok, I learned things and have found my peace. Sure, I have melt downs, we all do – but I am doing them the right way, venting the frustrations to the right people, and realizing that in 100 years, I will be not only not be remembered, read, or listened too, or even considered anything other than an insignificant ant in this cog of life. Or maybe my words here will have impact and save someone who is yet to be a grandma or great grandma. Maybe.

Yeah I am having a Gilgamesh moment.

I accept that. What I am concerned about is that we are losing the poets, the bards, and the dreamers – those who were turning this ship around. We failed them, all of us; we took and took and took, until there was nothing left for them to give.

When they are gone, we wail and cry, we set up support groups for them, instead of reaching out before that person is gone to say I am here, I want to help and if I cannot, then let me point the way.

Once again, why?

If you think someone is hurting, they most likely are. Let’s not allow all this social media BS to run our lives – be human and have empathy, I know it’s hard. Life can be hard, yet it is us, as the collective good, that can reach out and work to help each other. It’s ok to reach out, to speak, to shine the light on this seemingly taboo subject we seem too afraid to speak of. All is not lost yet, and maybe this is the manifesto of my pain, not exhausted but fueled by the anguish I see and feel. I don’t want to lose anyone else, do you? We can start, right now, making a difference.

If you are reading this and you need to vent, just find me, or find someone. There is help and there are people who want to help.

I will leave you with this quote, because it was the one that I found that made me say, “Yeah, with people like this in the world I think it might be a good thing to try and stick around and say I survived and so will you.” That is the reason I am coming forward – this is the reason I write this now.

Suicide is a serious thing. And if you know anyone who is suicidal, you need to get them help. No one should be in pain. Everyone should love themselves.” Gerard Way

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

#peace #life

BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Tommy Breedlove: You have a choice. And you should choose goodness.

Joined, on the New Business Mindset podcast, by Tommy Breedlove, the Founder and Chief Goodness Provider of Choose Goodness. You can learn more about Tommy below.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy Breedlove1. Are you missing significance?

2. Many business leaders get to a place where they might have financial success, but otherwise no meaning, no joy, and no truth in their lives.

3. “Unconscious living.”

4. How to go through a personal journey of self-discovery. What is the feeling inside?

5. Forget the idea that “it’s not personal, it’s business.” No, IT IS ALL PERSONAL!

6. “Don’t lose your humanity, for the profitability.”

7. You are allowed to have different evolutions in your life. You are allowed to make a decision to change direction and go down a different path.

8. The power of choice. You have power, because you can make choices.

9. Scarcity vs. abundance mindsets.

10. Taking a personal inventory.

This episode was originally published on Gareth Young’s podcast, A New Business Mindset!

About Tommy Breedlove:

Tommy founded the Choose Goodness movement to help individuals, leaders and organizations increase their positive impact on the world while gaining meaning and attaining financial success.

Tommy Chose to leave a lucrative international financial consulting career to create the Choose Goodness movement. At the time, he had achieved financial success and gained business notoriety and prestige. However, Tommy felt unfulfilled and had lost meaning and hope in his life. For 36 years, he felt he did not have permission to Choose, and the Choices he made were out of fear and the judgements of others instead of Goodness.

Prior to founding Choose Goodness, Tommy was on the Board of Directors, a shareholder, and the International Practice Leader for a large financial consulting and advisory firm where he advised large international and domestic companies on financial and operational strategies. Tommy and his international practice team won the 2012 Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Global Impact Award.

Tommy enjoys traveling, reading, experiencing new cultures and food, continuous learning, all things outdoors, and strives each day to put his positive mark on the world. He and his wife, Heather (aka Mrs. Goodness), live in Atlanta with two adorable four-legged children.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, HUMANITY, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Stacey Hanke: How to achieve real influence, moving people to action long after the interaction is over

Joined in studio today by Stacey Hanke, Founder/Owner of Stacey Hanke Inc., and author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke1. How do you define influence? What are the myths of influence?

2. Why do most people believe they are more influential than they really are?

3. What do you mean by being influential, Monday to Monday?

4. What are the top challenges people face that prevent them from being as influential as they can be?

5. What are the three drivers of influence?

6. Explain the Influence Model you teach in the book. How, and why, does it work?

You can find Stacey Hanke’s book here:

About Stacey Hanke:

Stacey Hanke is author of the book; Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®. She is also co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action.

Stacey is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands to rid business leaders of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely in the financial industry to the healthcare industry to government and everyone in between. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide, US Cellular, Pfizer, GE, General Mills and Abbvie. Her team works with Directors up to the C-Suite. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The New York Times, Forbes, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM. She is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.

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