Archive | May 2012

Thank You


Where I work we have a relatively new process for informal thank you’s. What I love about this program is that it creates an atmosphere of appreciation AND connection.

Here’s how the program works:  When you receive one of the official thank you cards you drop it into a common box. Once a month we have drawings from the box and the prize is a free lunch for both people involved – the person who thanked them and the recipient. This has a two-fold benefit. First, the program rewards the appreciative behavior. Secondly, it creates time together, in an informal setting. The pair benefits both on a professional/business level as well as on a social/networking level. The program is a great success. The thank you’s are sincere and thoughtful. And the whole process changes the tone of the business. We are now a group of people who are more aware and more vocal in our appreciation of our co-workers. Nothing changes a person’s perspective quite like a little appreciation. They feel valued and noticed for their hard work or going above and beyond.

I share all of this because I see it making a shift in the “smell of the place” as they say. Even in times of uncertainty; even in days of intense business pressures and changes, we feel and build the positive connections. It’s one more reason why I love the Company I work for and the people I share my days with.

I challenge myself and my readers to thanks someone today. But don’t just say it – write it. It’s powerful to have those tangible kind words to remember and review on off moments. And … if you really want to make someone’s day – take them to lunch as well.

Be grateful and be blessed!

 

Just Speak – original poem


JUST SPEAK!

From stem to stern and back again.

Top to bottom, without end.

Your cells know the energy of a positive flow.

Your words bellow forth with new life.

The sentiment of your heart changes the air.

Every part of you responding to the beat of your cares.

With heavy heart the day goes dark.

With lightness of hope the day glows.

It isn’t the outside that colors your world.

But the rainbow of thoughts and words.

With practice your mind can shift your view.

Allowing the breaking of dawn.

Brushing aside the darkest of thoughts.

You harness the power of control.

With it comes swift changes to your world.

It’s your words that speak your thoughts to life.

As your energy entwines with others.

A thought, a word, a positive shift.

Is all it takes to change your path.

From slowly slipping away with regret.

To a warm embrace of belonging.

It only takes one act from you.

You have the power within.

To shift the story of who you are.

Just speak your life to your dreams.

It changes everything.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

CELEBRATE!!


“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…
get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. 
Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. 
To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

~ Abraham Heschel

What a great quote this is – and an even greater philosophy on living! To truly be present to the miracle that life is may be the greatest gift of happiness we can give ourselves. Look around in your world today and seek for something to celebrate. Is it the smile in the face of a child that you longed to hold and love for so long? Is it the fabulous job that you wished and prepared for over years of learning and experience? Is it the health you have either by hard work or good choices? Is it simple pleasures like a lovely sunrise, I calm and relaxing dinner, a wish come true or warm bed to comfort you after a long and difficult day?

Whatever it is – big or little. Allow yourself to celebrate it. Find a great place to frolic and play. Dance when you are all by yourself, or better yet – be contagious and start a dance of joy in your family. Allow yourself to relish the abundant beauty that is your life. Get out the good china. Enjoy your favorite meal. Treat yourself to your favorite book or movie, bobble or bling. Write a thank you letter. Smile at a stranger. Pass you good fortune along in a random act of kindness.

You are spectacularly created. You are Divinely blessed. You are incredibly talented. CELEBRATE!!!

I celebrate YOU! Be blessed as you bless me too.

Value of One Word


We all know that a picture paints a 1000 words. But what picture does one word paint?

We are multi-dimensional beings and have many gifts to bring to the world. Our lives have a purpose and we are on the path to the fulfillment of our greatest self and our journey home to the Divine.

If you were to quiet your mind today, what is the one word about yourself or your journey that is coming to the forefront for you? Whatever word comes to mind FIRST is the one you should notice and share. It’s the one that is calling out for your attention.

For me it’s:  CONNECTIONS

Be you and be blessed!

Perceptions and Change


Many of my friends are going through significant life changes these days. Some are by choice, but many are being pushed, prodded, cajoled, or even forced into it.  Perhaps it has always been this way … but I think it’s happening more and more. Well, that’s my perception anyway. The beautiful thing about perceptions is they can be changed with  more facts and more experiences.

What I’ve been observing is that even though change is change, my friends’ perceptions of it makes all the difference in the world. My question is – does it have to be this way? The  “how” you came to be in the midst of change (voluntary, involuntary, dreams, or the end of dreams) … should that really change our interaction with the shift? No matter the “why”, the “what” is still the same.

The stages of change are still the same. The things you can and cannot control are essentially the same. The connections with friends, family, and networks is identical. The steps to take from “here” to “there” are virtually indistinguishable. What is different is the perception of the change. Because of that, I think we hold the key to smoother transitions.

I learned long ago to tease apart the facts of the matter from the story we tell ourselves about the fact. Facts are neutral. They are simply the details of what happened. But the stories are where our paranoias, fantasies, dreams, suspicions, and imaginations come to life. For example, when I was 3 I was ordered by the Courts to be a ward of the State and was placed in an orphanage. Everything in that sentence is a fact. However, I spent years telling myself the story that I must have been one really unlovable child because no-one loved me and I didn’t have a family. WOW! That is a 3 year old’s story based on what I could see and what I could understand and what I could possibly imagine. And, in reality it wasn’t true. Clearly I was loveable – I had lots of friends at the orphanage, I had brothers and sisters at the orphanage, the nuns used to tell me they loved me, and a wonderful family adopted me. And yet, for years (into my 30’s) I repeated, and believed, that I was unloveable. Once I learned this whole concept about how we create barriers in our lives by our storytelling (fact vs. story) it stopped me in my tracks. Because I had made up the story, I could revisit the facts and tell a different, more plausible story. I wasn’t in the orphanage because I was unloveable, or frankly because of anything I had done at all. It was because of the actions of my parents and the decisions of the judge. Changing my perception of the facts actually freed me from fears, self-doubt, and anger. And it happened in a moment. Not in a week, not over time, not through therapy and not in lingering bits. It was instantaneous. And that was the moment I stopped giving away my joy, my worth, my purpose and my self-esteem. That’s how powerful our perceptions are.

And over time, I continue to relook at my “truths” and stories to re-evaluate the facts. It has been the single most healing learned wisdom in my life. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to learn it in my 30’s vs. in my later life.

So I ask you, are you in the midst of change? What are the facts (who, what, where, when, how)? What stories are you telling yourself (why)? Are you assigning intent and blame? Are you suspicious and fearful?  What if … in this very moment … you changed your story from something that was “done unto you” with maliciousness or for negative reasons, and retold it as a shift in opportunity, or a divine intervention, or simply as a season ending. What if you have learned and received all you need or can from that circumstance. What if the future is brighter than the now. What if the “why” did not drive your reactions or how you go through the change. What if …

I pray for those who’s change is upon them. May it be a smooth, gentle, positive adventure. And may you be blessed on the journey.

Remembering …



As we move into the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, I find myself pausing and thinking of my Grandpas who both served in WWII, and who are now passed away.  These two men (along with my Dad who I’m blessed to still have with me) are the face of patriotism in my life. I feel compelled to speak of them for a moment.

My Grandpas were part of the “Greatest Generation” as it has become known. My paternal Grandpa, Jim Miller, was an accountant. He was smart, patient, and quiet. His passion was playing cards and I have so many memories of family Euchre games in his basement. My maternal Grandpa, Juel Bernard, was a foreman for the gas and electric company. He was tan and fit from working outdoors. He was quiet but had a fantastic sense of humor and could fix just about anything. He was the man who taught me to dance a proper slow dance. He also had this half whistle/half hum that he would do that still is so fresh in my mind when I think of him.

They had such different personalities, skills, and backgrounds, but they had some very important things in common. Both had a gentle way about them and were kind men. I never saw either of them exhibit anything but love and generosity. They were honorable beyond question. Their word was their bond. If they said it, they meant it, and they did it. There was no room for them to turn away from family and all they committed to. However, the greatest common trait with these true gentle men was their bravery. I knew little of their service other than that they were in the Army and where they served,  because they kept facts close to the vest. I know that they saw the most horrific things and felt the extremes of emotions and yet neither would burden their loved ones with details.

I remember one Memorial Day I was at my maternal grandfather’s house to celebrate the holiday. We were sitting around the table enjoying the grilled delights as we always did. I asked Grandpa about his service. He was a medic in the Army and said that at the end of the war he was in one of the groups that went into one of the concentration camps. I wish I could remember which one he mentioned but what happened next dimmed that detail. I told him that I was so proud of him. And I said I bet the people in that camp were so thrilled to see him and the other Americans roll in to save them. And in that moment, I saw the tears surprise him as they sprung into his eyes before he could fully turn and walk away so no-one would notice. I always knew he had been profoundly affected by the war, but that was the moment that I saw that the war he served in had forever torn a hole so deep into his heart that he would never, even as an old man, be able to articulate it. That was the only time in my life that I saw my Grandpa cry. It changed me forever.

It changed how I looked at our servicemen and women. I have always respected them. I have always had a deep sense of patriotism. But that was the moment that my heart knew there are no words strong enough to adequately honor the bravery of spirit that was required for these two young, Godly men to leave their loves, families, and friends in order to face imminent threat and possible death. I cannot imagine the horrors that their eyes saw, nor the terror that their hearts and minds lived through.

All I can do is say “thank you”, “I love you”, and honor their sacrifices and their memory by leading a life worth fighting for. I hope I am successful in that mission.

I hope that all those you love who have or do serve their country can sleep each night and know, with unshakeable certainty that they are loved, respected, and honored. Not just by the people they know and love. But also by those, like me, who do not know them by name but recognize them by character. Always remember their bravery and their actions. I honor and pray for all those who have served our country. I bless them and I bless you!

Your Best


I had a saying that I taught my children, “Give your guest your best.” It’s actually a quote from a children’s book that I have long forgotten the title to. But the concept was a simple one that really helped my children to share their best stuff, give the biggest cookie, or the best seat, or the  longest turn to their friends. But it’s not just about giving your best stuff, but also your best effort, your best attitude, and your best self.  I think it served my family well. My children still hear me say it or parrot it back to me from time to time.

I like to carry that concept into the workplace as well. There are so many times that I get interrupted for a question, advice, shoulder to cry upon, to wage a complaint, for a last-minute “favor” or any number of other things. I’ve decided that HR is the “all other” folks. If you don’t know who to ask, well, by all means go ask HR. I don’t really mind, but I must say, we get some strange and wacky requests because people think that way.

By living the concept of giving my guest (or my customer) the best, it stretches me to be 100% present for them in the exchange. Trust me, it isn’t always easy. I know I’m not always successful. But having the mindset and making the effort is what I think helps me put the HUMAN back into the Human Resources. This is the work I have chosen to do. The is the person I strive to be.

So I ask you – do you give your guest (boss, family, customer, friends, yourself) your best? What’s stopping you? What’s helping you. In all these things, be blessed.