Wisdom from a Cocktail Napkin

“No one changed the world by staying put.”

I don’t know who originally coined that phrase, but I saw it over the weekend on a napkin under my Ginger Ale on a Delta flight from Pittsburgh to Atlanta. Great thought from a company that wants you to travel more, right?

But that quote isn’t just about traveling and seeing the world. It’s about what you do when you get there.

Seeing the world outside of our own environment opens our eyes to new cultures, foods, fashions and beliefs. But it also opens doors to new opportunities to learn and serve.

I’ve been fortunate to visit some amazing parts of the world the past few years, but there are many othe2017-04-20 09.54.47rs still on my “bucket list.”  I admit some are for pure pleasure – Hawaii, Greece, Italy…but others are because I believe one person can change the world by NOT staying put. One day, I’d like to help bring clean water to Ghana with my friend Walter Hughes. One day, I’d like to administer polio vaccines to children in India with my friend Nancy Barbee. One day…

But until then, I will find ways to bring about change in my little corner of the world. To do this, I can’t stay put. And that doesn’t necessarily mean travel. It means being willing to do for others, and to give back more than you receive. It means living every day in “service above self” as we say in Rotary.

It means being a good friend, aunt, daughter, sister, mentor, employee, boss, neighbor or volunteer. By refusing to “stay put,” I can change the world. So can you, if you’re willing.

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Today is the day…

Today is the day I’ve been both preparing for and dreading. I’d like to say this is why you haven’t heard from me in a few weeks, but that wouldn’t be true. The reality is I just got busy – traveling, speaking, working, even a vacation thrown in there. Basically I got busy with life and I let my writing (blogs, emails, everything) move farther down on my “to do” list.

(Weren’t you guys supposed to be holding me accountable on that??)

But yesterday, I spent some time on a plane returning from a great trip to West Virginia where I spoke to a group of Rotarians at their district conference. My job was to motivate them to “find your passion and make it your purpose.” My intent was to renew their enthusiasm for “service above self.” I think I accomplished that goal.

But more importantly, they did the same for me. They renewed my enthusiasm. They motivated me to write. They stirred something inside of me that made me want to create again. They reminded me of MY purpose.

But back to today…Without sharing all the details yet (I’d prefer to wait and see how it turns out), just know that this is “one of those days” that you know is coming but don’t look forward to. I’d appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers, and I promise to share more soon.

2017-04-20 15.02.40I don’t write this message to instill fear or concern, or to elicit sympathy, but rather to remind you that we all face issues bigger than ourselves. Just because my life looks “glamorous” (I’ve heard it called that!) and fun in pictures or on social media, I have bad days same as you. I pull the covers back over my head and pretend my problems don’t exist. (For me, that also means I fail to put my pen on paper and I tell myself it will be ok.)

But some days, like today, I am reminded of both my passion and my purpose. And I’m reminded of friends like you all over the world who inspire me to do more, to be more and to give more.

So for that I thank you. I pray I can do the same for you.

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That Ben Franklin guy may not have been the brightest bulb in the box…

Ben Franklin said “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Wait…why not do both?  As women…heck let’s be honest…this trait isn’t limited to the female species….as HUMANS, we constantly think in terms of limitations when it comes to our future.
“I’ll never get that promotion because she has worked here longer than me.”
“He would never be interested in me because I’m not pretty (tall/smart/old/young) enough.”
“Why should I start a blog? No one cares what I have to say.”

But what if we change our way of thinking and concentrate on expectations instead of limitations?
“If I work harder and prove my worth, I can ask for the raise I deserve.”
“Everyone deserves a second chance, including me.”
“Someone has to win the lottery, why not me?”

Okay so maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch…but my point is this. You never know what you are capable of accomplishing until you set your mind to it. So what if you fail? That’s not how you’ll be remembered. America wasn’t built on success stories – it was built on a series of failures. By people who never gave up. By people just like me. And just like you.

So in your wildest dreams, if you thought in terms of expectations instead of limitations, what would you accomplish next? #FromPassionToPurpose

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Patience (part 2)…

Most of you already know patience isn’t really my best virtue. I’ll admit it. I’ve even written about it and some of you may remember it was my “new month resolution” for February. But for the past two months, I’ve definitely been tested in this area.

I’ve been praying very specifically for an answer to a challenge in my life. So specifically, in fact, that I asked (no…I begged…I’ll admit it!) God for a resolution “during the month of February.” (Probably not the best way to work on that quality this past month…)

Well as you know, February has come and gone. Suffice it to say, I didn’t get the answer I hoped for. But w2015-06-26-092214_19318299428_ohat I realized is that it’s not my timetable – it is His – and I have to accept that and never lose faith. But the good news is I was faithful in my prayers and desires. So I think that makes my resolution successful!

I have learned that not getting an answer certainly doesn’t mean God isn’t listening to me. I know I’ve often questioned that – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that. Nor does it mean my prayers are unanswered or wasted. It means I must have patience, because everything is difficult before it is easy. I’m obviously in that “difficult” phase still.

But I am strong. (I promise I won’t go all “hear me roar” or anything.) I am strong and I am faithful. And maybe, just maybe, the answer came in February, but I don’t even know it yet.

So on to my “new month resolution” for March… any suggestions?

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Be a “Go-Giver” #40DaysOfGiving

My entire life has been spent as a “go-getter” – climbing a professional or social ladder, working to close the next sale or charitable gift, working on the next goal or accomplishment…and I’ve always been praised for it. And most of the time I’ve even been proud of it.

But a dear friend gave me a book recently, “The Go-Giver” and I realized that what I desire to be is actually a “go-giver.” Don’t misunderstand…I’ve done some nice things along the way on this path I call life, but I’ve spent years trying to prove myself in the corporate world and always trying to please others.  I’ve finally realized it’s not about pleasing others. It’s only about pleasing God.

By being a “go-giver” rather than a “go-getter,” I am doing my part to make the world a better placego giver. My involvement with Rotary is certainly the most obvious way I give back. But not everyone is a “joiner” or part of a 1.2 million member worldwide network (and quite honestly, if you’ve heard me speak, you know I don’t believe everyone should be in Rotary…but that’s another story). But there are literally millions of ways to give back.

During this season of Lent, practice being a “go-giver” – do something nice for someone who needs it…a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker – or even a stranger. I am certain you’ll be “pleased” with how great it makes you feel to do for others.

This past week I had the opportunity to take a free vacation with friends and business associates. I worked hard to earn the trip, as did everyone else who went, and it was nice to get away. But I am reminded of how many “go-givers” were on this trip with me…the friend who bought me dinner in the airport for no apparent reason (“because I want to,” she said)…the friends who picked me up before sunrise and let me ride with them to the airport so I didn’t have to go alone…friends who went above and beyond for no reason other than because they could!

I’m blessed to have so many “go-givers” in my life. I know you are too! I’ll admit I haven’t started reading the book yet (I’m almost finished with another and this one is next), but I’m already intrigued and looking forward to it.

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