Monthly Archives: February 2016

Time To Take Out The Trash?

It’s no secret I live alone and spend a lot of time on the road. So I really don’t eat at home or even cook for myself as often as I’d like. Which means I don’t buy that many groceries. (If you have seen my fridge, you know this is an understatement.) So let’s assume I buy 1-2 bags of groceries a week (including dog food)!  So how is it that someone who brings IN 1-2 small bags a week throws OUT 2-3 large bags of trash in the same time period? Maybe because I see the importance of “taking out the trash.”

So here’s the bigger question. If I understand the importance of “taking out the trash” at home, why don’t I do it more often in my personal life?  Too often, we avoid getting rid of things we don’t need – like guilt, negativity, conflict, stress, and even certain people.

Listen, I get it… it’s hard enough to throw out ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, old photos, program booklets, old files or clothing you no longer wear. Many of these things hold special memories in our lives or in our hearts. Of course it’s even harder to throw out emotions or people! But if I’m completely honest, I’d have to admit that cleaning “out” (which I prefer over cleaning “up”) is a necessity, and once completed, creates a great sense of accomplishment and even relief.

Obviously if we never take out the trash at home, we’d have a huge problem to deal with – dirt, odors, even health and sanitation issues. So we do what we have to do. But in our personal lives, why do we tolerate the “trash” and all that comes with it? For each of us, the reasons may be different – perhaps financial reasons, lack of self-confidence, health conditions or maybe even just indifference. We allow ourselves to be used or abused, stepped on (or over), taken advantage of or left behind.

If that’s happening in your life, now is the time to “take out the trash” that’s putting the garbage in your life! Break free from guilt or fear or shame. Break free from people who don’t deserve your love or friendship. Break free from those who belittle you or embarrass you. Break free from gossip and conflict. THROW OUT THAT TRASH!fearfully wonderfully made.jpg

You are an amazing person with great things to offer at work, at home and in your community. You have talents and skills that no one else in the world has. There are people in your life that not only know that about you, but they appreciate that about you! Surround yourself with positive people who will reinforce your personal goals, dreams and successes. Anyone else, is just trash, and it’s time to throw them to the curb with the rest of the garbage.

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Are You A Third Class Ticketholder?

In the days of the wild west, if you wanted to travel a great distance, you had to go by stagecoach, and it was a very long trip. There were 3 different classes of passengers – First Class, Second Class and Third Class…the seats were all the same, but the prices were different. Here’s why…

First Class mea18709928408_dfae4103f6_knt you remained seated during the entire trip, no matter what happened or what conditions might be faced.

Second Class meant you remained seated until there was a problem along the way, when you had to exit the stagecoach and walk alongside if there was a problem.

But Third Class passengers not only exited when there was a problem, they were also the ones who had to fix a broken wheel or even push the stagecoach along, through the mud, up the hills, no matter what came along. Aren’t you glad stagecoaches are no longer our mode of transportation?

So I began thinking about First Class, Second Class and even Third Class passengers when it comes to our involvement in things like Rotary or even our community. So let me ask you – what class ticket do you hold?

Too many of us hold First Class tickets – in our society, in our school or in our volunteer organization like Rotary, Interact or Rotaract – we expect to be waited on and catered to – even pampered! We’re willing to ride, but not push… We just sit back and let the others do the work. You know who those folks are don’t you?

But there are also those in our organization who hold Second Class tickets – detached spectators who show up but don’t want to get too involved. Their name goes on the roster, they even include their membership on their resume…but that’s about it. It happens in every organization.

But thankfully, there are also a few who are willing to hold Third Class tickets – willing to get out and push when the going gets tough.

We tend to equate First Class with privilege – exempt from doing any work… But is success really remaining seated while others get out and push, or is it getting your hands and feet dirty? Is success being served or serving others?

No one really CHOOSES to travel Third Class…but today, more than ever, we NEED people who are willing to travel Third Class and get a little mud on their shoes. So I ask you – are you willing to hold a Third Class ticket?

Third Class ticket holders have a heart for service. They don’t mind working behind the scenes. They are people who have made a conscious decision to get involved or join an organization whose entire reason for existence is to change the world! They are people who are willing to get out and push!!

“Be A Gift To The World” is the theme for Rotary International this year…but it’s more than a theme. It’s our stagecoach! And we are the passengers.

If we just sit in our First Class seat & expect everyone else to get behind and push, what will happen to Rotary (or any organization you are a part of)? We’ll never reach our goals – to end polio, to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, to bring about world peace – every organization in the world already has too many First Class passengers. We’re looking for a few more Third Class passengers!

We all have to get behind the load and help! It’s not easy – to be willing to chair a fundraiser or a special event, or to organize volunteers, or to take ANY position of leadership – but just imagine the wealth of possibilities if you are willing to be a Third Class passenger in your Rotary Club or your volunteer service organization!

What are you willing to do? Are you willing to be a leader instead of a spectator? My passion for Rotary is membership & social media – growing our organization with folks who have a heart for service…seeing how much more we can accomplish with more people doing the work…sharing our messages around the world… But maybe your passion is eradicating polio…  We are LITERALLY “this close” to removing this disease from the face of the planet!! Only two more countries – Pakistan & Afghanistan – are still endemic. Doesn’t that make you excited!!?? I’m grateful there are people like Nancy Barbee & John Nanni in Rotary who are PASSIONATE about ending polio! And I’m grateful for people like Anne Matthews who is PASSIONATE about providing clean water to people who need it. And I’m grateful for people like Henry Hoffmeyer in my own club in Hendersonville, NC, who is PASSIONATE about The Rotary Foundation. You see, you don’t need everyone in your organization to have the same passion! Maybe you will be passionate about international projects, or giving dictionaries to third graders, or providing food and shelter for those who are homeless. That’s what makes our organization – & YOUR organization – so successful. So my advice to you – as you embark on this adventure of being a “Third Class Ticketholder” – is to find YOUR passion…and make it your purpose12573147_1070809132969160_284201677972304082_n!

Take advantage of the opportunities you’re going to receive from your membership in Rotary or whatever organization you choose. Be a doer…Be a leader…Be a servant…Be an innovator…Be a collaborator… But most importantly, be a third-class ticketholder!

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The season of Lent is among us and I’m reminded of all the many things I’ve tried “giving up” over the years. Some have been successful – some not so much. So this year, in talking with some friends & fellow Rotarians, we’ve decided to try something different. Maybe you’ll find it worthwhile and will choose to be a part of it too.

As a Rotarian, I try to live by the motto “Service Above Self.” Whether it’s volunteering with the local special needs sports program or delivering wheelchairs to spina bifida patients in South America, there are ample opportunities to give back as a Rotarian. But “giving back” certainly isn’t unique to Rotarians. I meet people everyday who inspire me through their giving hearts – whether it’s opening a door for an elderly person or allowing someone with less items to “cut in line” at the grocery store.

Many people look at Lent as their chance to “give up” something important to them for 40 days. This year, I’m choosing to “give back” for 40 consecutive days. I call it “intentional giving.” Let’s be clear – I won’t be writing any big checks to the non-profits I support (I wish I could). I’m talking more about small opportunities – even those that go unnoticed – to “Be A Gift To The World” over the next 40 days.

Each year, the Rotary be a giftInternational President selects a “theme” to represent his year of service. “Ravi” Ravindran, the RI President for 2015-16, chose “Be A Gift To The World” and on that note, I’m inviting all my Rotarian friends (and those of you who aren’t “yet” Rotarians) to join me in this small effort to “give back” rather than “give up.”

Over the next 40 days, look for ways you can “give back,” and if you so choose, share them on your social media using #40Gifts40Days. But for the record, sharing on social media & using this hashtag isn’t about recognition or publicity – it’s about sharing ideas of ways to give back and maybe encouraging others to do the same.  And maybe even filling up social media news feeds with positive news stories for a change!

Maybe it’s a short hand-written thank you note or paying for the meals in the car behind you in the drive-thru. Maybe it’s bringing candy bars to your co-workers or donating unused winter clothes to the homeless shelter. The possibilities are endless for your “intentional giving.”

So when Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, I invite you to join my friends and I in our #40Gifts40Days effort. You may not believe one person can make a difference in the world, but to one person, you may be the world. So be a gift these next 40 days of Lent. I’m certain you’ll be just as blessed as those who receive your gifts.

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