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Archive for the tag “helping others”

Love Your Enemies and Grow Like Heck

I’m about to have a God is awesome moment on the blog. If you aren’t religious, you may want to stick around anyway because what I’m about to share is just general good karma/doing the right thing kind of stuff. And if you are interested in generally being a good person, whether you are religious or not, this still can apply.

I’ve mentioned on this blog a number of times a person at work who over the years has done a number of things to make my work life difficult and about two years of hell dealing with her and her nasty ways.

I’ve also mentioned that recently she’s been having a very bad year, bad health in her family, deaths, and difficulties at work. I’ve said I take no joy in her having such a tough time, and my prayer has been to see her humanity and put the past behind me.

Well I had that opportunity. I noticed she’s been out of the office a lot and I stopped by her office to tell her about a new food truck she’d probably like. Well she told me she just returned from a funeral of a loved one and she is drained. The work she left behind for those who were supposed to help her wasn’t done and she basically has to start all over and is several days behind.

She looked tired, and haggard and defeated.

I told her that I was really sorry for such a loss in her family and that usually word gets around the office and that I hadn’t heard anything at all. She said that she felt slighted that no one really offered any support or rallied around her the way others have been treated in similar situations.

While I felt bad for her, in my mind, I knew what it was. Her past behavior, her disregard for other people’s feelings, her negative attitude and unnecessary cattiness and delight in other’s misfortunes turned a lot of people off and now people’s inaction and indifference toward her, during her difficult times is speaking volumes.

So there’s me.

I’ve probably suffered at her hands more than anyone in the entire place.

But as someone who identifies as a Christian (yes, I do. I have A LOT OF WORK), this person being in my life has been a real test. A huge one. God has used this person to stretch me beyond belief. God used this person to make me fight for myself and stand up for myself and show that humility and patience and favor is a very real thing. And as long as I didn’t lower myself, the people who mattered would see and do the right thing at the right time.

And since our troubles, I’ve been promoted twice and when we all had our salaries cut, I was one of the few people able to negotiate to get my money back some months later. God was positioning me. He blessed me to have a great schedule and be able to work from home. He was working on something greater in the midst of a really tough struggle. But folks around me saw that I didn’t have to lower myself, or put her down. My actions and how I chose to react to hers spoke for the both of us.

But the truly amazing thing about God is when he wants to teach us a lesson, he doesn’t stop at one point. He keeps it going.

When I talked to that co-worker yesterday, something in my heart said, get her a card and a little gift. It doesn’t have to be anything big.

So I went to one store and didn’t see anything.

Then I went to Target. I bought a cheap card and carefully looked at the wording. One of the cards, I laughed and said, “Now I’d be lying, so let’s keep this simple.”

Then I looked around for something simple. And found a cute little box of chocolates in the clearance. Between the card and the chocolates I spent less than $5 dollars.

I got to her office before she arrived and left the chocolates and card on her desk.

About an hour or so later I got an email of her thanking me and saying she cried.

That touched me. Because I knew it wasn’t me, it was God using me to bless someone else. And it doesn’t take much, because even though I was being led and pulled to go get a card and some candy, and I obeyed that, I was also saying, “Lord, I know you are leading me, but this ain’t gonna be expensive. I ain’t spending but x amount on her. You brought me a long way, but nah. I ain’t make it that far.”

Her reaction today made me think about God’s love and mercy toward me. He really leaves the past in the past and does not hold my ugliness against me, but still continues to give to me and bless me when I don’t even deserve it, and when I neglect doing what I’m supposed to do for him. We do jerky things, we can treat each other terribly and tear one another down with harsh words. But we wake up to new mercies everyday, with a chance to start over. We have homes, food, clothing, health and family and friends.

I’m blessed. I’m about to spend five days in Curacao next week and celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. I know people who didn’t live to see 31. I know people who have never left where they are from to see something new and me and my friends this summer have been able to visit great places all over this world and try new things. I have an education and a brain and an opportunity to work in an industry that has been hit hard over, and over and over again.

God has protected me and provided for me. I can live independently and pay my own bills every month. My needs are supplied.

I feel great joy today for my blessings and just knowing you can do something small and it can make a difference to someone else. God used me to send a message to my co-worker and I’m proud of that.

It isn’t about her and it isn’t about me.

So if you feel compelled in your heart to reach out and do something for someone, don’t even start making the list of things they’ve done to you or for you. See the hurting heart. Understand that you needed and appreciated a blessing no matter where it came from, you just knew you needed it. If you really feel a pull at your heart to do something for someone, even a person who was against you and treated you poorly, you do it. God is working on YOU by working THROUGH you. He’s helping you grow through that moment of obeying what’s in your spirit and going beyond yourself and your limited sense of human justice and karma.

That’s the end. Do some good today, yall. It can be the tiniest thing that makes a huge difference. Spread love.

 

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Connecting Others to Their Purpose Seems to Be Becoming My Purpose

It is no secret that I am a cheerleader for my friends and loved ones.

If there is something you want to do, I generally believe you can do it, even when I’m lacking confidence in my own life.

One of my closest friends has been struggling to find a job, as a lot of people are in these times.

I’ve always said what she has needed most is a great, well-connected mentor.

I’ve been looking and looking, and I think I found her the perfect person. I reached out to this person a few days ago. We hadn’t talked in years, but this woman had an impact on my early in my career. I sent her a very humble, yet passionate email describing how much I love my friend, and how I think that her mentorship will do my friend a great deal of good and point her in the right direction of entering a related field.

This well-connected woman reached back out to me, said she totally remembered me and appreciated the fact that I wanted so badly for my friend to succeed and was so ready to advocate on her behalf. She said she’d be delighted to contact my friend and help her in any way possible.

I have been over the moon about that this morning, because I do believe this interaction– which is now up to my best friend to knock out of the park, can set in motion just what she needs to get her to where she’s been wanting to go.

That moment inspired me greatly.

Right after that email, I saw another from a company I applied with over a year ago and went on an interview for.

They said according to my qualifications in their system, they suggested a position. Normally, these suggestions are way off, and well below my pay requirements.

I’ve been comparing salaries in this area, and this job could potentially make me happy. So I’m going to apply.

I was talking to my other friend I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a lot about purpose and wondering if as a writer, professionally, I’ve been drifting further and further from what I originally wanted when I set out to be a world-class journalist.

Maybe I did drift, and maybe being a writer for newspapers may no longer be a desire of mine, but I will always be a writer.

But something else has been happening with me. Writing this blog, gives me the opportunity to still do what I love and I love writing this blog and I love the positive feedback people give me.

The other piece of my heart and purpose now really is advocacy. I think this job I’ve come across has the potential to do that. I said several posts ago, I’ve accepted my lot at my current job, and would only apply to jobs that really move me, instead of applying to jobs for more money or to get the hell out.

I’m learning to listen to myself. And I’m listening.

So let’s give it a go.

I took this a step further and decided to write myself a mission statement. If companies and organizations can write them to establish goals and organizational culture for groups of people, why can’t we do this personally? Individually?

I will use my talents and experience as a professional communicator to be an advocate and cheerleader for health, education, the arts, women and girls, and the disenfranchised.

 

I will connect people to resources that will lead them to achieve optimum mental and physical health, and identify and utilize their own creativity, skills and talents in positive and powerful ways.

 

I will use my gifts to empower others.

 

Creativity is my guiding force and inspiration, I will continue to seek inspiration and challenge myself in my creative pursuits– through literature, music, visual arts, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

Today, I challenge you to really think about the things you love, the things that inspire you and make you feel good and think about your talents used and unused, and the skills you use every day as well as the skills people are always asking you to use. Create your own mission statement and post it someplace to remind you of who you are and what REALLY drives you.

Posting this in my cube has already given me a new feeling and a sense of greater purpose. I’m saying it out loud and whoever comes by my desk will see it too. I’m giving my thoughts real power and standing behind it and challenging myself to live up to it.

Keep Calm and Stay Busy

A humorous take on the popular “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan. Photo courtesy of youwerespring.tumblr.com

I see all sorts of signs and shirts and bookmarks that have a variation of that slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Interestingly enough, it’s a British slogan from propaganda posters during the beginning of World War II. According to Wikipedia (I cringe at using them as a source, being a journalist, it’s a no-no) the phrase was thrust back into the lexicon and suddenly made a resurgence into popular culture after some woman unearthed some of the old posters from her father’s belongings and was featured on Antique Roadshow.

History lesson aside, it’s been everywhere and people have even made up their own funny versions too (there’s a tumblr page devoted to this).  It seems like this slogan is the recycled, classier version from our British cousins of “Keep on Truckin” a popular U. S. phrase from the 70s.

I’d like to add one to the list. Someone else probably already thought of it, because, it’s really simple.

“Keep Calm and Stay Busy.”

I have a friend who is a master at this. She volunteers, she likes to travel and visit her family and friends. The girl hardly sits still. She’s active in civic organizations; she’s just a busy little bee. She finds things to do, she finds me things to do and she lives hundreds of miles away!

I have noticed, that even when I pack my schedule, or I have a specific place to be at a specific time, I’m happier.

I’m happier because I feel like I’ve done something, that I didn’t waste time or brain cells.

I move more quickly and with purpose, I don’t hit the snooze button (as much). I’ve already thought of what I’m going to wear, and I’ll have it ready.

I’m more organized. Because, if you have a lot to do and places to be, you have to be more organized in order to do it all.

It’s perfectly fine to have lazy days to decompress from all the action. But it’s more fulfilling to fill your time with things that are important to you, your health, your spirit and your fun. By the time you take care of all of these areas, you will have a full schedule and a happier heart, indeed.

Your health: Having a scheduled workout at the same time, even twice a week makes a difference. I know people who schedule their daily workouts and they say they are at the point they feel like crap when they don’t work out. Their body notices it. I think I’m on week seven now of zumba twice a week for one hour. I may even start going to three classes, because I really like how I feel and today, I’m wearing a pair of pants that used to cut off my circulation. Those pants may still leave an indentation around my waist, but I can breathe, thank you.

Your spirit: If you are religious, having that set time you go to church to practice your faith can contribute to keeping your spirit busy.  Outside of worshiping with others, it’s good to sit down alone and meditate or pray privately. In addition to that, doing community work, or helping others also feeds your spirit if religion is not your thing. As I’ve found and my super active friend often tells me, once you volunteer to do things and you organize and do it well, somehow more people find you and ask you to help them too.

I’ve decided that I’m going to join the National Alliance on Mental Illness, volunteer from time to time and be an advocate for my mom and families who want to support the people they love. The outpouring of support from yesterday’s blog post, especially from fellow blogger, suestopford of The Happily Single Chick, really gave me the push I needed to do make this decision.

Also aiding in the efforts to stay busy for my spirit is the tee-shirt line I plan to launch at the end of this year or early next year. I’m planning an amazing photo shoot and I can’t wait to start working on content for the website. The whole vision is extremely exciting and I think it will really empower women, which really sends my spirit into a happy frenzy.

I’m going to an all day conference on leadership Saturday at Columbia University. It wasn’t so much about my job or my business, but it was about me getting more tools, and meeting new people even if that means getting on a bus early in the morning to go to NY from the DC area. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and go the extra mile to do things you know are good for you and will help you grow. I could possibly meet an investor or a potential client who can take me to the next level or even just make a new friend at this event. I can’t take that for granted.

Your fun: All three of these things are crucial and I think all three can overlap, honestly when you come from a place of sincerity in all that you are doing. You gotta have fun. You gotta do things that you enjoy. Thanks to living social, goldstar, and meetup, I’m just trying things. I’m going to new restaurants and seeing shows and checking out concerts. Taking a class, whatever, opportunities are all over the place. I’ve even convinced my friends to go to a fancy high tea one day soon (never done it and there’s a historical mansion literally down the street from me that does one monthly!).

These things make me really happy and you have to make time and the investment to do them. I love spending time with my family and friends and it just makes me feel really good.

With that, despite my challenges and emotional things I deal with from time to time, I’ve got to take a page from my uber busy friend’s book and “Keep Calm and Stay Busy.”

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