Tag Archives: India

Sparks of YES experiment… are you In?

23 Feb

Have you ever noticed how just one small “YES” can totally transform your day?  

When your day is filled with so many “NO’s”, even just one “YES” can make the difference and allow our spirit to soar.  Just one “YES” can make your heart skip a beat!

Imagine how transformational millions of  “YES” sparks could be!  (And that’s going to be my challenge to you at the end of this post – would you be part of a Sparks of YES experiment and spread the word?)

One YES can inspire another, and hopefully in turn inspire two others, and two more and so on and so on…until the collective inertia of the NO’s is overcome by what I call “The Sparks of YES” experiment.

Sound hokey?  Maybe… but whatever, I still think it will work.  Please read on.

The Culture of too many NO’s…

We live in interesting and perplexing times:  unemployment is at an all time high, more people have given up looking for jobs (why bother?)”, suicide rates are soaring, the divorce rate in Florida hovers at 75% (really!) and millions are easing their pain with everyday addictions (Florida leads the nation in oxycodone abuse)… Damn it, failure is (again!) the soup of the day.

What is puzzling is that we are the same species as we were before the banks plunged us into chaotic recession.  We are the same people who made this nation great, before the greed of Wall Street and the 1% took over.  It is NOT up to the 1% to take care of the 99% – they never have and never will.

What’s my name, do I belong ?

As a county (and  a state and a nation…) we have the same potential for success as ever, yet millions of our fellow citizens walk through their days feeling beat up, spit out, knocked down, and depressed.  They’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, knocked on countless doors, worn out pens filling out job applications, hit “apply” on computer screens – all without success.  We make millions of phone calls begging for mortgage relief, plead for food stamps, appeal to utility companies – and swear at more “automated”  voice response systems than we should in a lifetime.  And it all seems to come down to the same thing – no one seems to care, there’s so little forward movement, and every step we take seems to take us backwards.

UNTIL that one day-changing moment when someone says “YES”!

  • Yes, I can give you more time to pay that bill.”
  • “Yes, you can come to work for me.”
  • “Yes, your resume looks good and we will call you for an interview.”
  • “Yes, I gave you extra whipped cream on that latte for no charge.”
  • “Yes, you deserve my time.”

YES changes the world from shades of gray to Technicolor!  YES gives us hope.  A bit of YES spells potential success… (at least until the NO’s overwhelm us again.)  But I believe that we can overcome the inertia of so many NO’s, with lots of Sparks of YES!

My “YES” today came from my friend Steve…

I found a YES in my inbox today and it inspired me to write this post. (The second post in one day!)

I’d like to share my YES with you — My friend Steve took the time to send me this card (click on the link below and you can enjoy the experience yourself!). Thank you for inspiring me to create YES’s for others,  Steve! (Here’s the link: http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=3382268653748&source=jl999 )

JacquieLawson.com

Overcoming Collective Inertia

I sometimes wonder “Where have all the caring people gone?”

The answer is that they have gone “underground” because they are also beat up, kicked down, and feeling sunk.  Why bother caring when no one else does?

A fire starts with a single spark – and can grow into a magnificent fire… a locomotive starts moving with a single burst of electrical ignition… we can become a positive society again if we convert our culture of NO into a culture of YES.

The Challenge…The Sparks of YES experiment

“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me…”

Where can you begin in your life to inject more “YES’s” ?  I challenge you to double your YES output – first, notice how many times you say or meet with a NO response, and second. respond to it by giving two YES’s to people in your day.

This is not going to be easy!  If you meet or hear “NO” twice today, that means your challenge is to give out FOUR YES’s.  They don’t need to be big or monumental YES’s, just enough to build momentum against the mountain of NO’s!  Double your YES output and watch what happens…

WILL YOU SAY “YES” TO SAYING “YES” ?

PLEASE let me know if you take up the challenge and what are your results…

Have an inspiring weekend!

Carol

The more you Give, the more you… Give

13 Feb

As a classically trained engineer, I know that there are some immutable (unchangeable) laws of physics such as:  an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a moving force; an object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by and equal and opposite force; the law of gravity (gravity works); etc.  These are guaranteed laws that hold true no matter the where or when.

When it comes to people, however, there are few immutable laws. People behave well or badly often without logic.

Nonetheless, there are marketers who promote their workshops and profess networking prowess based on what they tout as an immutable law:

The more you Give, the more you Receive…

What a nice momism (things moms say to make the world seem nicer!)  Certainly the world could be more harmonious if this was a law of nature, but the two concepts (Giving and Receiving) are not coupled.

This causes undue stress when we believe that Giving and Receiving are related because it gives rise to unrealistic expectations.  Giving does not necessarily have anything to do with increasing the amount one will be given TO.  It is simply a fallacy to relate the latter as a natural occurring result of the former.  The truth is simply that the more you give, the more you, well, give.  Nothing more.

The expectation of reciprocity implies balance, of give and take in equal amounts, and when it comes to human beings, this simply is not the case.

There are those who give and give and then give some more, while there are those who readily take and take and take.  In between the two extremes are those who give and take and take and give in equal measure, but the two are still not related concepts.  There is no guarantee that giving will result in reciprocal giving – it might be a nice bonus if this happens, but that’s it.  A bonus.  If you are a frequent giver, there is nothing that says you will ever receive anything in return, nor should it ever be associated with the giving.

Now before you cite me as being critical and negative, think about this for a minute.  If you give unconditionally and altruistically, why is it that if you gain nothing, ever, in return do people get upset?  It is the anticipation that there will be giving and receiving in some equal portions – and this is simply an unrealistic expectation (leading to disappointment).

There is no relationship between giving and receiving, and it is about time that society (and parents) realize this. These are two separate concepts:

  • Giving is sharing and providing something to another without strings or conditions.  A giver that gives freely should never anticipate or expect anything in return – ever!  This is the simple concept of giving.
  • Receiving is a completely different concept and is the opposite side to giving.  Those who give need to give up the notion that there is a relationship here.  What you get has no dependence on what you give.  If someone decides to give something to you, they may associate it with an action you took, but it really is an independent self-contained action on its own. One can give without receiving, but one cannot receive unless someone else gives.  Giving is an independent, receiving is a dependent action.

Why is it so important to separate giving and receiving?

Only recently I woke up to the fact that I am an obsessive OVER-GIVER, and this is as unhealthy as being an OVER-TAKER.  An over-giver gives of him/herself relentlessly and often at their own expense (the classic sign of an addiction).  Conversely, an over-taker is often a narcissist who simply takes and takes without notice or regard for anyone else – this is not an addiction as there is no victim when it comes to overtaking!

Problems arise when an over-giver succumbs to his/her addiction and wakes up to the reality that s/he gave away too much and it is too late.  Over-givers lose friends, family, and loved ones in the process because they do not give others the chance to make it independently (over-givers do not like to watch others struggle – especially when s/he could ease the suffering through sharing and giving).  Over-givers need to step back and take care of themselves first (see earlier post – Put on your own mask first!)

Confessions of an Over-giver

Being an over-giver came naturally and quickly took its addictive hold.  It started innocently and early: as the oldest of five children, I already had four siblings by the time I was seven.  I had to share everything with everyone, and then some.  Growing up I can recall my father emphasizing Matthew 19;24 “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” and once I hit adulthood it stuck with me. I recall feeling like every cent I ever made was destined for sharing with everyone around me, lest I be a bad person.

Naively, I trusted that those with whom I shared would in turn be kind or at least appreciative, and instead they responded with entitlement or worse.  I did not realize that there was no connection between giving and receiving.  I gave and gave to others before giving to myself.  It didn’t stop with money – my over-giving extended to time, energy, expertise, passion, kindness, etc. – even if it meant that others gained, and it was to my detriment.   Giving the shirt off of one’s back was my mantra.

Today, at mid-life, I realize that my current financial, career, and relationship situation is a direct result of my compulsive over-giving.  It has rendered me powerless, almost penniless, at times jobless (I would spend time finding work for others first), and it caused conflict with former friends and family.  I have a feeling today that over-giving is a common addiction, but it is seldom talked about because there are no obvious victims aside from the over-giver him/herself.  And those who are over-takers love to be taken care of!

I am not alone in Over-giving…

I take comfort that the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert struggles with her own over-giving and wrote about it in the December 2011 issue of Oprah magazine: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Confessions of an Over-Giver  (Dec, 2011):

(As a great British wit once quipped, “You can always tell people who live for others, by the anguished expressions on the faces of the others.”) All I know is, those friendships withered under a cloud of mutual discomfort, and now we cross the street to avoid running into each other.

Years ago, in India, a monk warned me, “Never give anyone more than they are emotionally capable of receiving, or they will have no choice but to hate you for it.”

The blog The Curvy Life, featured a post on May 4, 2010 called The Trap of Over-giving.

Here is an excerpt:

For many of us, giving comes so naturally and easily that we have to be reminded not to over-give, either by giving beyond our means, beyond our time constraints, or beyond our energy levels. While I think that over-giving is often motivated by a heart full of gratitude and love, I also think that giving to the point of discomfort or pain can be motivated by a feeling that what we have to give (within our means, time, energy) or even more tragically, who we are as a human being, is not enough…

Over-giving is a trap. What may start as heart-centered giving can become a burdensome obligation. Those around us can begin to expect and feel entitled to our over-giving, thus depriving of us our rightful recognition and further feeding our sense of not-enoughness.

Where do you fit in?  Are you a freely giving person who can accept that the more you give, the more you give?  Or do you expect some level of reciprocity with those to who you give?

Or are you a taker who revels in the fact that people routinely and happily give to you, without consideration of giving back?

A counselor once told me that my ex and I were polar opposites:  I was the classic addicted over-giver who “enabled” his over-taking.  Receiving remained an unfulfilled and unrealistic expectation on my part.  I know better now.

What has been YOUR experience?

Have a stress-free week ahead!

Carol

Everyday “miracles” every day…

7 Jan

angelsWhen you hear the word “miracle” what comes to mind?  For me, the word traditionally conjures up choirs of seraphim enveloping an accident scene where victims walk unscathed out of a tangled car, or a hospital room where a once-paralyzed child walks down a long hallway with movie music trailing in the background.

This is the Hollywood version of miracles, but I’m finding that mini-miracles actually happen every day – if we only stop to recognize them.  Dictionary.com defines miracle as

World English Dictionary:  miracle (ˈmɪrək ə l)
n
1. an event that is contrary to the established laws of nature and attributed to a supernatural cause
2.

any amazing or wonderful event

3. a person or thing that is a marvelous example of something: the bridge was a miracle of engineering
4. short for miracle play
5. ( modifier ) being or seeming a miracle: a miracle cure

I’ve purposely highlighted #2 ANY AMAZING OR WONDERFUL EVENT because this is what everyday miracles are to me.  Somehow we often focus on what goes awry in our lives (someone cuts us off in traffic, a sales clerk is snarly, a family member disrespects us, or a friend doesn’t return our call) – and we lose sight of the many wondrous things that happen along the way.

I believe that we are conditioned for this with the way that our news, elected politicians, and general attention-seekers focus on the negative.  Additionally, when we have unrealistic expectations of others it is easier to be disappointed (when they don’t meet our expectations) than to be delighted with them.  For example, if someone disregards us, we get hurt (this inflicts a small scar on our psyche), but then don’t appreciate a later kindness.

But, we can change this whole situation by consciously changing our perspective:  1. Reduce expectations of others’  behavior; and 2. actively watch for the little moments of amazement and wonder in our everyday life!

Everyday miracles

Here’s a few examples of everyday miracles I have started to notice:

  • A friend calls unexpectedly to say hello just moments after I read an email about a contract being canceled;
  • An attendee at one of my international lectures sends an email to tell me how my speech gave him new ideas he can use at work;
  • A colleague in India offers encouragement and shares his own story of career frustration to boost my spirits;
  • I find a $20 bill in a coat pocket;
  • A friend follows through on a promise they made;
  • My son (22) calls to say thank you for something I’ve done;
  • A stranger compliments me on my shoes;
  • Someone lets me in ahead of the to a left turn lane;
  • Someone says that they understand how I feel and they mean it;
  • Someone sends supporting comments about reading my blog postings;
  • A stranger ahead of me pays for my highway toll;
  • My daughter sends me a card just because…

You might call these everyday occurrences and not miracles and you could be right.  Some might actually say that these are expectations of how others should behave.  I respectfully suggest that when we remove our expectations of others, things become much simpler.  As such, I prefer to assess these behaviors as everyday miracles every day — I am truly grateful for each and every one of them.

How to stay positive in this down economy where gloom and doom financial woes continue to plague our nation?  My solution is to seek positive signs from the universe that things will get better.  When they do (I’m optimistic) then it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy (and I’ll shout hurrah).  On the other hand, if it takes longer for positive things to happen, at least I can take solace in the fact that good things happen every day.

Wishing you a positive week!

p.s., I am actively seeking speaking opportunities worldwide, so if you know of anyone looking for a great speaker on technology or industry optimism topics, please ask them to contact me at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com.  Thank you!

Carol

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