Be That Person

Recently I read this post on Facebook: “Be the person your dog thinks you are.” I smiled because my dog thinks I’m pretty special. I can tell because he follows me wherever I go, spends hours beside me at my desk, and shows immense gratitude when a dog cookie appears.

Waiting patiently

But I have a bit of a spin on that sentiment. My thought is: “Be the person you wish you knew.” I’m talking about the one you could have used in your life to make things just a bit easier.

I lost my mother in my early twenties. Sure, I survived as a motherless young adult; however, I yearned for a wise aunt. Someone I could turn to for some mature sage advice, someone who knew my mother, someone to share the loss, the tears, the triumphs. And someone to watch me walk down the aisle.

Who was that missing person in your life? Maybe one of the cool kids who would have invited you to sit at that coveted lunch table and helped you feel comfortable? Or perhaps a wise mentor to show you the ropes when you got your first job?

What if you had a teacher who encouraged and showed an interest in you? Or a coach who believed in you? Maybe it was a parent who was missing from your life.

As luck would have it, I am fortunate enough to have nieces providing me with the opportunity to perform the role that was missing in my life. Think about it. Who is the person needing you in his or her life?

When you find that individual, make a difference, be a helping hand, and a hand to hold when needed.  Listen with both your head and your heart. Lend a shoulder to cry on, then speak your truth. Never withhold a dose of tough love if that is the required remedy. As Aristotle advised, “Lead from your heart and mind and listen to theirs.” Do these things, and you will be a positive story in someone else’s life. 

This week I invite you to spend some time identifying that person absent from your life.  Know that you are the missing link in the presence of a friend, a child, or at this point, a mere stranger. Pursue and build a relationship. I promise you; it will be fulfilling. Someone out there needs you, your talents, and your superpowers. Be the person you wish you knew.

Dear Friends…Rather than give you another article about Covid-19 and how you can help, I am resurfacing an old blog. Both now, and when our global future brightens, we all need to be “that person.”

Sending you lots of love. Stay safe and stay well.

Sunny

Five Rules of Giving

 

I don’t always get it right. That was pretty obvious yesterday when I opened a “thank you” email. Although happy to be the recipient of some gratitude, I felt a twinge of shame. You see, in the spirit of giving, I extended a stranger a profession courtesy, no charge, no strings attached, just to be helpful and practice kindness. I like doing that. Later I grumbled in my head for at least 48 hours about the silence. Where was a gracious show of appreciation? I wanted something in return. Nothing much, just a thank you.

My “Aha” Moment

After receiving the email I realized the need to make some changes.  Obviously, due to my desire for gratitude, my act of kindness had a string attached.  A true and sincere giver expects nothing in return. Not only did I want a “thanks a lot,” I wanted it in my defined time frame. Like NOW! When I didn’t get it, I indulged in negative thoughts about allowing others to take advantage of me.

As this wasn’t the first time I found my  face red over fake selfless acts, I decided to teach myself a lesson and immediately  and began plotting to overcome my desire for give and take.

The result of my self-assigned homework, is my “List of Five.” Yep…five life rules I’m putting into action.

 

Rule Number One

If you’ve ever been to a second grader’s softball game, you may have noticed no one keeps score. Based on that philosophy, number one on my list of corrective action items is, “Throw away the scoreboard.”  That’s right. No more quid pro quo. No longer will I use a mental clipboard to keep score.

Passing On a Good Deed

Coupling my new rule with a familiar phrase and philosophy I penned, “Pay it forward,” as number two on my list. We’ve all been the recipient of kind acts. Passing on a random act of kindness makes our world a little brighter. My new mantra was kindness, whenever possible. As I considering it for a moment, I underlined it…TWICE!

One Way Giving

Often my expectations run high. Had I given freely, with no agenda, the thank you email would have been a sweet surprise making number three on my list, “Set no expectations.” 

Abundant Kindness

Reviewing my list, I smiled. Then another thought occurred to me. There is no such thing as too much kindness. Quickly I penned my number four, “Give, give and give some more.” 

 

Be My Best Self

Five seemed like the right number so the last thing I wrote is directed at being my best self. Any success I’ve experienced in my career was because I took my job seriously. Got it! My fifth and final rule is, “It is my job to be kind.”

This week I’m determined to put my big five into practice. Thanks for reading this post. I’d love to hear about your top five.

Giving the Precious Gift of Kind Words

My friend Melissa is one of the most generous people I know. She blesses the lives of many in a very special way. When the moment presents itself, Melissa never misses an opportunity to lavish sincere praise.

Not only does she express her kindness to others by issuing compliments, Melissa does so in a significant way.

The other day I was the recipient of one of Melissa’s bighearted gifts. She attended a presentation I gave at a business meeting. Not only did she absorb and remember the message I delivered, the next morning when I visited my Facebook page Melissa tagged me in a post.

Other friends might have sent me a quick private message telling me they enjoyed my presentation. Not Melissa. She wrote a lengthy paragraph of “shout out” praise to be viewed on social media. Her act of kindness was extremely generous and an example of how Melissa goes out of her way to lift up people making them feel special.

Generosity is the virtue of giving freely and abundantly. Sometimes we give time, in other instances money or material goods. People like Melissa find innovative ways to make the world a brighter place with carefully chosen words.

Khalil Gibran is quoted as saying, “Generosity is giving more than you can and taking less than your need.”

Wise words to live by and yet, conversely, we can all identify acquaintances, perhaps even family members, who either refrain, or rarely think to offer up an “atta girl” or extend encouragement. Often in my coaching practice I encounter individuals who talk about never receiving a compliment from a parent, sibling or their boss.

Denying a deserving person a word of praise is the opposite of being generous. In fact, withholding admiration on a consistent basis can even be a form of emotional punishment.

Not everyone is as highly skilled as Melissa in the art of a compliment. If you are holding back praising others because it feels awkward, or you fear doing it wrong, just practice. Start small.

Try telling your boss you like her dress (if you do). Next try focusing on characteristics and skills. Perhaps your coworker wrote a procedure streamlining a task and making your work-life easier. Applaud that action, verbally, in writing or at a staff meeting in front of the boss.

There is only one rule when passing out compliments. Be sincere. Coupling sincerity with generosity makes your compliment memorable.

Make a point of issuing gracious compliments this week. Gift others with words of praise. Remember it costs you nothing to be kind, but may mean everything to someone else.