Living Your Best Life at Any Age

Archive for February, 2014

YOU CAN MAKE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE IN OTHER’S LIVES

“Your Story can change someone else’s”  1896950_745177378833409_1062714364_n

You, Yes you! can make a LOT of difference in someone’s lives merely by practicing the LOT principle.  Listen, Observe, Tell 
 

Does the name George Bailey ring a bell?  He was the main character in the perennial classic Christmas movie “It’s a wonderful Life”.  (Extra points if you get the bell reference.)   When the movie begins, George is standing on a bridge, ready to jump off.  He feels his life is meaningless – that he doesn’t matter.  An angel appears and as George reviews his life he finds that he did make a difference after all.  In the end all is well, it’s a wonderful life – and his angel gets his wings.

But, I’m no George Bailey, you say.  I’m not sure I make a difference.  I sometimes wonder this myself.  Who am I to inspire others?

I haven’t started a multi-million dollar company; I’ve never played pro sports.  I have not overcome major adversity –no near death experience, no major debilitating disease and I pretty much have most of my faculties.  On the other hand, I have lived to what could be called a ripe old age and experienced success and failure.  I have parented, started a business, married, divorced and even obtained a professional degree.  Yup, I have stories to share — stories that might impact others.  I have a quote on my office wall:  “Your story can change someone else’s” I truly believe that.  The stories we share can make a difference.  To quote our current hero, Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson:  “Why not you?”

Let me give you an example of how someone changed my life:

High school.  The dark ages.  Girls were taught typing, shorthand and homemaking skills.  In ninth grade we were to make a four year plan of the classes we would take to complete high school graduation requirements.  When the teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin saw my plan she remarked that I had not scheduled any classes I would need for college.  College?  I’m not going to college.  People in my family do not go to college. Nope, we are not college people.  Not remotely on the radar.  To this day her reply stuck with me:  “I hate to see a bright student not prepare for college”.

Bright student?  Me?  No one in my then 15 years ever told me I was bright.  Me?  Wow.  What a revelation!  I was impressed. I took Mrs. McLaughlin’s advice and took Algebra, geometry and even two years of classic Latin.  Yup,  Veni, Vidi, Vici.  I came, I saw, I conquered.

Furthermore, I did go to college. When I became a student teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin was my master teacher.  I had the privilege to tell her how she changed my life.  And you know what?  She didn’t even remember me or the conversation!  It was just something she did because that is who she is. She was just doing what was natural to her.   That’s just who she was.

That’s how easy it can be to completely change someone’s life.  And often we don’t even know we are doing so.  Not only did I go to college, ultimately I completed law school.    I know that in my professional capacity I have and continue to impact lives.  But what about the little day to day things we do.

You can do a LOT.

That’s my acronym for Listen Observe Talk.

Listen

Listening is not a passive thing and it involves paying attention to facial expression, body language.  What is this person really saying?  Feeling? Often after I have met with a client they tell me how much better they feel.  How helpful I was.  And all I did was LISTEN.  Truly listening is the greatest gift we can give another person.

 Observe

What did your barista look like this morning?  Did you even notice her?  Later at work, a coworker sighed deeply.  Did you ask what was wrong? Did you make eye contact?  It is amazing how people respond to eye contact.  Culturally we are taught to do so but do we really? We look to the side of the eye, or the bridge of the nose.  Truly make eye contact.

 Talk

Have you ever noticed how someone reacts when you comment on their appearance, or the service they are providing, or their smile?  Is there something they are obviously proud of on their desk or wall?  Comment!

Remember: “Your story can change someone else’s”    Sometimes just the reminder that we all share the human condition can give someone hope and courage.   Not  “I can top that one” but a heartfelt, “I understand.  I went through this also and here’s what I did.”  Or, perhaps, “I can’t even imagine how this must feel for you.  How would you like me to help?”   Talk, tell your story.

The following quote came across my Facebook page the other day:

“ONE KIND WORD CAN CHANGE SOMEONE’S ENTIRE DAY.”

 Think about it.  One kind word can change someone’s entire day.

Here is my challenge to you.

Set out each day to make a difference in someone’s life.  Do so by Listening,Observing,  Talking.

The next time you are among other people,  practice truly connecting with someone.  Listen, Observe, Talk.    After the first, do one more and one more.

I will give you a money back guarantee that by the end of the day your life will be different.

Yes, You can make a LOT of difference and impact lives.

I challenge you.

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CAN WE STILL CHANGE THE WORLD?

IMG_0083“When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.

  This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius , Age of Aquarius”

  If you identified with these lyrics this message is for you.  If you don’t recognize them, ask your mom or dad.  This song, from the musical Hair made popular by the 5th Dimension in the late 60’s  was the anthem of our generation.  We were the new age.  The boomers.  The new generation that was going to change the world.  With us, there would be peace love and understanding.
 

 What happened?

Life happened.  Some remained on communes and followed an alternative lifestyle but most of us went into the workforce, had families, careers, established our own businesses.  Now here we are at that point that previous generations stopped.  Stopped striving, stopped trying, and some would say, stopped living. But not us, we are the new age.   We are the boomers who changed the world by our mere numbers.  Every decade we changed things from the Sputnik era of education to the economic force of the current economy and our impact on social security and Medicare.  just by our sheer numbers we affected all areas of society.

 Now what? (more…)

WANT TO LIVE LONGER? BETTER? TRY FACEBOOK. SERIOUSLY!

Karin at age 2

“Oooh, I would never do Facebook – it’s dangerous!”  

Walking across the street is dangerous,  life itself is dangerous.  OLD is about not trying new things.  My purpose in these musings is to help folks from being  OLD.  (OLD is the opposite of the wise sage we intend to be as we explore the new territory of life facing those of us who have crossed into the territory of the new 70 and beyond)  Today’s lesson:  Think Facebook.

“Facebook is too complicated”  Learning new things can be complicated, but learning new things keeps you from being OLD.

“I’m worried about privacy”.  There are privacy settings you will learn how to use.  You may want to consider being a little more open, though.  The millennials and younger are far less concerned about privacy.  Certainly use discretion but you can be a little less shy.

So why am I touting the benefits of Facebook?

SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

Every study I have seen concludes that social interaction is essential to living a longer life.  Facebook keeps you in touch with your world and opens you up to getting to know people better.  No, you do not just sit on your couch with your laptop and make friends.  You go out into the world and meet people and then stay connected with them on Facebook.

Every time I come home from a social event I find additional Facebook friend requests.  Once, at a party I recognized a name on a woman’s nametag.  I approached her with “According to Facebook, we should be friends”.  We connected and she is now a friend on Facebook but also someone I can connect with socially.

Yesterday accepted a friend request from someone I don’t know.  A definite No no?  Not really.  I saw we had about 20 friends in common and from the list I could tell which of my circles she inhabits.  I will be following her posts and when we are at the same meeting next week I will be able to approach her and we will have commonality.

Remember those great folks you met on vacation?  You promised to keep in touch but other than the occasional Christmas letter you’ve lost contact.  I am still friends with people in met in the Grand Canyon, aboard a Panama Canal cruise and even on a China trip.

DEEPEN YOUR CONNECTIONS

I have several friends I don’t see often.  We keep talking about getting together to catch up, but we don’t do it as much as we would like.  We keep up with each other on Facebook and when we do see each other we don’t have to spend a lot of time catching up.  She knows about my trip to the Grand Canyon and I read about her visit with relatives in Texas.  We were able to get right in to deeper conversation.  Our Facebook friendship really does strengthen the real friendship.

FILL YOUR CALENDAR

Each day I have a list of events from which I can pick and choose.  Most are of only casual interest and I file it away as nice to know even though I will not be participating.  On the other hand, I become aware of an interest shared by several of my friends and I choose to attend.  I have also posted events myself and I am tickled at the responses I get.  I have become so accustomed to sending out invitations by scheduling events that I have found it challenging to include my non-Facebook friends.  Mailed out invitations?  How quaint.  Your even invitations can be private and go only to those you select.

I also have started several groups that communicate via a “secret” group.  No one but those who have been invited to the group can see the posts.  We send each other reminders, updates and encouragement knowing that only the group members will see the message.  I also belong to a couple of on-line book clubs.  I’m not giving them a thumbs up yet but I may consider a smaller group of people I already know.

KEEP UP WITH FAMILY

My favorite part of Facebook is becoming a part of my family’s life.  I see my grandson eating spaghetti or playing at the water park.  I learn about what my daughter and her husband are interested in and learn of their activities.  I can ask about these activities and opinions when I see them without having to grill them about what’s been happening in their life.  I also have become friends with some of their friends.  Younger friends really help you not be OLD.

CREATE NEW CIRCLES

I belong to a number of private groups on Facebook.  Many I have created myself.  Those groups include a group of wannabe writers (Hi, Writers’ Salon), my spiritual community, lawyers groups, and several accountability and support groups.  Most of these people I know in person but some are virtual friends.  One group I call “Girlfriends’ Potluck” and every now and then I do a shout out and schedule a potluck.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU

Chances are if you are reading this, you are on Facebook.  Would you like more help on creating groups, privacy settings or other issues?  I am happy to help.  I am even planning workshops for small groups in various communities.  Let me know if you are interested.

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