Tag Archives: Rotary International

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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#40DaysOfGiving

*Some of you may remember this post from last year…here is a “repurposed version” for us all this year! Enjoy!

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 “serve humanity” over the next 40 days.

Each yearshr, the Rotary International President selects a “theme” to represent his year of service. John Germ, the RI President for 2016-17, chose “Rotary Serving Humanity” 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 #40DaysOfGiving. 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 #40DaysOfGiving 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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The future starts today…

Like some of you, I had LOTS of time at home alone this past weekend because of the winter storm (did you know it had a name?? Helena…go figure!)  So that meant lots of time to think, reflect, plan and even brainstorm. I made it a productive weekend, in spite of the fact that I didn’t leave my house for three days!

One quote I stumbled upon over the weekend was by Pope John Paul II.  “The future starts today, not tomorrow.” That really spoke to me Saturday and inspired me to make some serious changes in my life. I can’t really share them with you yet, but as soon as they are in place, I will le2017-01-07-22-29-45t you all know. It’s gonna be big. EPIC even! I do ask for your prayers as I continue to work through some details.

What will you start today to change tomorrow? I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for each of us! Thanks for coming along this ride with me.

Oh one more thing… I have a completely new website to share with you – I’ve been working on it for a few months and it’s finally live! Most of you know I am very active in Rotary… so be sure to visit www.rotarygeek.com to learn more about what I do. You’ll also get to meet some of the amazing Rotarians I meet all over the world in my new blog, Rotary Geek Of The Week! Take a look & let me know what you think?

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Gifts

Birthdays are routinely associated with gifts. Today is my 46th birthday (I know what you’re thinking…WHAAAAATTTT???) and I’ve realized the best gifts I have received are friends – far and wide – who took the time to wish me a “happy day.”

More than 1,000 social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram…sweet texts (some very early!)…tangible cards with real postage stamps…phone calls and voice mails from those far away…a surprise cake from my Rotary friends tonight at a downtown music festival…it was all just what I needed today. I’m so grateful for the special gifts of friendships.

Some people think your family is limited to those who are blood relatives. But today, my friends, fellow Rotarians and social media contacts – from the Carolinas to Delhi – proved that untrue. These people ARE my family. And they are such gifts in my life.life-is-a-gift-wake-up_25681888766_o.jpg

“Life is a gift. Wake up everyday and realize that.” I honestly had no idea how true that would be for me today. But it was easy to realize because I felt loved and valued. But tomorrow is another day. We mustn’t let the “busy”ness of our business keep us from living everyday like this, or from helping others live everyday like this.

Who in your circle is a gift to you? Take a minute today (or tomorrow) and tell them how valuable they are. It could be exactly what they need to hear.

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Go For The Gold

Watching the Olympic Games has always been something I’ve not only enjoyed, but actually looked forward to. I admit, I don’t watch every event (I don’t even understand every event!), but like many of you, I have my favorites.

This year is extra special as I am enjoying seeing many of the views I saw firsthand just last summer when I was in Brazil for the Rotary International Convention in Sao Paulo and then a brief vacation in Rio.

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The sights there were beautiful – the statue of Christ, Copacabana Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain…the food (& drinks) were amazing – fresh seafood and caipirinhas… but the opportunities – to fellowship, serve, and speak on an international stage – those were remarkable experiences I will never forget.

Much like the athletes in Brazil, we must also “go for the gold” by taking advantage of every opportunity for training, networking, fellowship, service and even performance. We must set goals for ourselves and work hard to achieve them.

Posting regularly on this blog and sending weekly emails to those on my motivational e-news list (you can sign up to receive those here!) is a small step for me in my quest to “go for the gold.” I have lots more goals I hope to accomplish in the months and years to come, and I am confident I will reach each of them.

Over the next few weeks (& months), you’ll hear more about each of my goals, and I hope I can count on your support.

Will you stand on the podium with me as you reach your goals too? Or will you be sitting in the audience cheering me on? Either way is acceptable. Just don’t find yourself sitting at home watching with regret that you haven’t reached your own goals and being envious of those who have.

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What’s YOUR gold for this year? Comment here or email it to me personally! You’re a champion. Let’s go prove it!

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