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Beware Snake Oil Salesmen

There is no golden goose, silver bullet or miracle elixir. There is no easy way to changing your position, your prospects, your circle of influence or the world around you. In most cases it won’t be easy but it may be simple. Set a goal, make it manageable, do it, repeat, repeat, repeat.

remarkable slogan

What do you want (more of/less of)? How might you get it? How committed are you to that? How will you know you got there? When creating a goal, stated in the positive – I will have more time with my family starting today. Recognize what is in your control. Setting goals that compel or require others to behave in a certain way will likely lead to frustration.

Does the goal fit with your personal ecology? If you commit to earning $1Million but money isn’t an important measure for you then the goal is likely flawed. If you are going to achieve your goal through actions that are contrary to your values, you will fall short. Know yourself and set goals that fit with who you are.

Step up to the plate and take your swings. Evaluate your action, adapt and step up again. Persistence and courage, more than anything else,will be required on a daily basis but if you are still reading you are ready to take the first step. Do it now.

Make Today Remarkable, for you,

B

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Is it Time to be an Adult?

Selected quotes on the subject;)

You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway. ~ Walt Disney

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. ~ HG Wells

I think that inside every adult is the heart of a child. We just gradually convince ourselves that we have to act more like adults. ~ Shigeru Miyamoto

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise. ~ Alden Nowlan

We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we’re too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams. ~ Herb Brooks

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The Three Stages of Truth

German philosopher Schopenhauer said in the 19th C ” First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally it is accepted as self evident”  I don’t know if it is still this simple but I have seen my world change from individualistic and self interested to more caring and other centered. It isn’t the norm, yet, to acknowledge our collective responsibility for each other but I have witnessed a shift in that direction.

When we began promoting the make it your problem philosophy and practice, in 2007, we were derided as naive and foolish. “Why should I take care of hungry kids when it is the parents or government’s responsibility.” ” No one is going to step up to make it their problem, when they don’t believe that it is.”

Institutions, departments and bureaucracy tried to stop us in our tracks with regulations, rules and threats. The momentum had already shifted towards caring and we acted as if what we were suggesting and doing was already fully accepted. We constantly asked for forgiveness rather than permission and brought thousands along for the ride.  The issue we chose to express MiYP now has a local solution but vigilance is needed as I am hearing rumblings of a more impersonal universal program being introduced.

My MiYP lens makes observing other problems and issues being addressed by people becoming involved rather than absolved. The 2013 flood in Calgary saw more than 25,000 people step up and do what they could rather than waiting for ‘someone else’.

Local and international issues and disasters need each of us, all of us, to do something that fits our ability and comfort. Making a difference  doesn’t happen through institutions, it happens through me, you, us.

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Mom

mom

I am so fortunate to have many mothers in my life. My mom still makes me laugh, makes me think and makes me crazy and I love her. She protected me, challenged me and let me make mistakes.

My beloved, the mother of my children, makes me better every day, makes me stay grounded, makes me believe in myself and I love her. She questions me, she urges me, she celebrates me.

My daughter and daughter in laws, the mothers of my grandchildren, make me a better person, make me feel smarter, make me appreciate the little things and I love them. They gave me 11 great gifts, shared themselves, and put up with a lot.

To all the moms in my life, I offer a blessing of happiness, silliness, quietness and a day filled with knowing how much they are loved. Happy Mother’s Day.

Make Today Remarkable, for her,

B

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You Look Great Today

Actually, you look great every day. You are remarkable. You have made the choice to be a leader, with or without the title. You have made the choice to share your strengths with others. You have made the choice to trust yourself and a growing group of other people. You have made the choice to add life to your days. You have chosen to make a difference.

These choices make you taller, slimmer, stronger, smarter, richer. When you choose to use your strengths to strengthen others you feel better, act better, look better because you are better as you make the world better.

Look in the mirror and see a remarkable person looking back. Give them a smile, a wink and a nod and let them know you love them.

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In a minute Everything Can Change.

I admit I have said ” I am going to pay more attention every day, enjoy more sunsets, love more deeply, read more widely.” and then proceeded to take another day for granted as if I have an infinite number ahead. There needs to be some harmony between adding days to my life and adding life to days. A tragic accident last weekend where a young person made a good decision and took a taxi home only to be killed when an impaired driver crashed into them made me again realize that I only have today (realize again). I pondered that for a couple days but returned to putting aside important things (relationships, recreation, reflection, reading ..) for things my brain tricked me into thinking were urgent (emails, tweets, television, texts …).

On Tuesday, when I was doubled over in severe pain with a fever and vomiting, the reminder came up again. Today is all I have. Plan for tomorrow but live for today, find harmony. Turns out I likely have a kidney stone and an ultrasound should confirm but it could have been something serious.

Make your relationships (hear loving, listening, sharing) , your health( hear mental, physical, emotional) , your recreation (hear enjoying the life you have) , your development (hear reading, learning, discussing)  your priority for today. Repeat tomorrow and for another 17 days.

B

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Do your Best, Expect the Same

Standards slip, services are shaky, products get weak when we don’t stand up to the tests of quality and integrity. I have been one of those who threw my hands in the air and said ” what can you do?” Well, in my span of control are two choices, two actions – do my best and expect others to do theirs. I can hold myself to promise that everything I do (maybe I need to do less) will be at a personal best and presented/delivered with the highest and best quality I can perform. Confession – that unfortunately hasn’t always been the case (may not always be the case) as I got caught up in the bounded rationality of ‘good enough to fly’. Today I am going to do the very best that I can without becoming the patient perfectionist that drives me crazy. Maybe I can do the best by being impatient and deliver more quickly.

We can also expect the best from all those who work alongside us, bring us resources, sell us products, deliver services. When we don’t get the best experience we have a responsibility to speak up. To an under performing colleague – a challenge, to a surly server – no gratuity, to a shoddy manufacturer – no more sales, to a suspect service provider – hold to terms of the agreement.

We have two choices. Do your best and expect the best.

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Go Ahead

The make it your problem philosophy and practice proposes that permission and proximity are needed to make a difference. When we are proximate to a situation or issue and recognize that something needs doing we seem to need permission to take action. I imagine that there are thousands of folks, in every community, with their metaphoric hand raised waiting for someone to give them the nod. Should I talk to my neighbor? Can I just shovel their walk? Can I reach out and offer my assistance?

Should I talk to the homeless man? Can I give him $1? Is it okay?

May I pick up trash when walking in my community? Can I challenge something that isn’t right? Is it okay to use my voice? I don’t know what to do, can I still help?

Resoundingly ” Yes, Yes, Yes.” You  have permission.

Make Today Remarkable, by acting to improve someone’s world,

B

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Our Stories

The stories we listen to shape us. The stories we share represent us.
The stories we hold dear define us.

People read us, our nature, by our stories. Whether we are shaping the future for a child through the reading or retelling of a classic tale or we are blogging about current affairs or a treasured memory – we are in story. Oral tradition encouraged the written capture of our thoughts, experiences and emotions. Everyone has a story. Everyone is a story. Learn how to capture yours and share it.

Last night I was on a panel on storytelling as  part of ” Reading Town” in Calgary.  A diverse group discussed the importance of story in our lives, our community, our work, and social change.

A neighbourhood historian talked about the importance of understanding our place and its past so that we understand the context of our pond and why it looks and feels the way it does. When we represent numbers as stories they can come alive and resonate with the audience, especially those who tend to the left side of their brain was the message of a math tutor. A community organizer worried that we are losing the important books that shifted values and changed the world, like the Feminist Lit of the 1980’s

I began with ” I don’t know if this really happened but I know  it is true” to try explain how stories, great stories, our stories reside in more than our head. They capture us, correct us, caress us and change us whether we are the teller or the hearer.

In order to be restored we must be restoried. Our narrative nudges us and sometimes drags us towards tomorrow. If we can make a small change in the back story, it can dramatically impact the future.

Make Today Remarkable, by sharing a chapter of your story,

B

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Finish

Nobody is going to finish this damn thing for me, except me.  I have heard this many times, said it a lot, thought it more. It refers to so many things. When I am running at a pace or distance that exceeds my norm, I think about quitting but realize I am the only one that can get to the finish line. When a writing assignment, white paper, chapter, sermon is on the agenda and everything else, including the laundry seems more important, I remember that no one else is going to step forward and pick up my responsibility. When it is hot outside (or cold) and there is yard work or projects and I want to wait until tomorrow, next week, never it is obvious that unless I hire or coerce someone it isn’t getting done without my effort.

How many times in a week do you need to remind yourself that you are the adult who has signed up for an adult life full of deadlines, expectations, goals, responsibilities? I confess that most weeks I would need the reminder more than 20 times ( 15 of which is enough to get me going again). Being an adult isn’t easy, it shouldn’t be. We all have damn things that need to get done and we damn well need to do them.

My commitment for this week May 4-11, 2015, is to get them all done – no excuses.