I’ve been saying for years now, “Learn what you need to know so you can enjoy life”, and although I’ve been a huge advocate for learning, I’ve also been struggling with this HUGE concept.
Throughout my journey developing the idea behind the Time to Play concept, truly believing that everyone deserves to enjoy life, I have encountered obstacles. I have met many people who I relied on and became incredibly disappointed in. I “waited” for things to happen, for promises that didn’t materialize. I became amazingly frustrated, and had given up numerous times. Sound familiar?
“Can’t” even sometimes snuck itself in there…
I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences.
Thankfully, I have been provided with amazing friends and teachers like Rebecca L. Norrington. She has slipped in words of wisdom and empowerment to me at some of my most critical moments. She may not even realize the power behind what she gives. One important thing I’ve learned from her is that no one can make you “feel” a certain way… only YOU can make you feel. Implementing this mindset takes practice. Trust me.
So, here’s the scoop on today’s revelation that I would like to share. Hopefully I won’t lose you as I try to explain it. Please stay with me…
I would like to share something I have realized in order to keep myself on track, and I hope it can also help you to avoid discouragement. I have realized that ideas and a change in our thinking, no matter how ideas and concepts are presented, or how many times you hear something, are not necessarily immediate. This goes for anything… including things like “tips” for healthy eating or “pointers” or ideas for happiness or for success. Anyone can “tell” us stuff, but it’s up to us to “get it”.
Remember how hard it may have been for us to learn how to solve a math problem? How we tried, maybe we even had gone for extra help? And then you “got it”, and it was easier to complete the assignments? Like that. I believe this is how it is for many of us to adopt a new way. It sometimes may take time, even years, for ideas and concepts to evolve in order for us to see things more clearly and to understand. Research shows it takes 21 days to adopt a new habit. I think that it takes a lot longer – it takes until we are ready to adopt a different way of thinking.
Today I have realized something that I’ve known all along, but a concept that I really “got” this morning – the idea behind self imposed limitations. I have recognized that it takes years to unlearn what we have decided to believe about ourselves. The lack of self confidence, that we don’t belong, the belief we cannot “be” or “do”, which result in our creation of frustration and unhappiness in our lives. I wrote about these concepts in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, (www.IfIKnewthenBook.com) writing in chapter 2 about my belief that we are “tortured souls” that live in self-imposed prisons (chapter 2). There’s a sample read here, where you can read the beginning of this idea.
Today those concepts have become even clearer to me. I challenge you to look around and see how many people accept life in that manner.
Today, with a belief that is even stronger than ever, I know each of us has amazing potential. I also know that potential is just inside every one of us, waiting for the time when we are ready to use it.
How many of us believe we can’t do something? That we can’t achieve success in an endeavor? That we don’t deserve ”IT”? That we are destined to be sick, poor, or suffer hardships? That we’re “unlucky”?
I have been thinking of these questions, as well, since the podcast John Jurkiewicz, another of our Time to Play team, and I did last Wednesday. Part of the discussion was how many of us fight our success gene. I believe that’s totally true. I believe part of our fighting is involuntary because we act as we were taught. (If you would like, you can listen to the podcast here.)
Today, even though I’ve heard it a million times, I had an “AHA” moment. I know that we each have, within us, the power to achieve. But we achieve what we believe.
And, I know that it takes a long time for us to unlearn what we believe and to see things differently.
Ask yourself what you prefer to believe — that the sky is the limit or that you are here to suffer through life?
Every day is a new and beautiful opportunity.
What is your dream?
Perhaps today is YOUR day to seize it… to start on your path of making your dreams happen.
Perhaps it’s your time to stop looking back and stop thinking “can’t”.
“Talk is cheap”, someone once said. “Someday I’m going to… “ is another famous phrase.
Do it. Don’t give up. Keep your eye on your dream.
It’s time to enjoy YOUR life. It’s time to play.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive working in healthcare for the past 28 years. She has seen the “sick and sad” and knows there has to be a better way. She is also a certified professional life coach and the founder of Time to Play, a website dedicated to life enjoyment. The Time to Play Foundation is a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of ENJOYING LIFE! Short version … inspiring EVERYONE to enjoy life. Contact us at 631-331-2675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org | www.TimetoPlay.com
When things happen in my own personal experience, it sets a fertile environment for me to start thinking. I have a habit of analyzing everything, probably a result of working in the field of quality improvement for many years. I believe that everything has the potential to be better, and even if we think something is perfect, there are still opportunities for improvement.
Here’s a situation that I experienced last week. I’ve been thinking about how to put my thoughts into words since then.
A few days ago I had the experience of going to court for the sentencing of a criminal case. I had never been to the courts before, and I was truly saddened by the experience. The whole courthouse scene was one of despair, from the line of people waiting to get through security, to the stressed out faces attending the many proceedings.
As you may know, I am part of the motorcycle community, recently appointed as a board member of a motorcycle safety, education and advocacy group. I truly believe in the power of the people, and not only went to support an injured motorcyclist and his family, but to be a visible reminder of the need to protect motorcyclists from irresponsible motorists.
In this particular case there was a woman who critically injured a man riding his motorcycle to work. She had been in and out of jail most of her adult life and an addict since she was 12 years old. In our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com), I discussed the adoption of self-destructive behavior to hide from pain in our lives. There are many types of self-destructive behavior aside from alcohol or substance abuse, including eating disorders, over shopping, self-harm, or even “proving” you are good enough, the one I am most familiar with. Chapter 2 in our book is entitled “We Are All Tortured Souls”, where this was discussed a little more.
From the limited information provided at the sentencing, it was alluded to that she had started using drugs to hide her emotional pain from her father’s physical abuse. Now, at 27 years old, having been out of jail 3 days prior to the accident, she chose to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. In a matter of minutes she changed lives forever, causing irreversible pain and suffering to a lovely man who had been down the block from his destination at the time of the accident, as well as significant financial hardship to his family. Further, she left the courthouse on her way back to jail, this time for a matter of years.
In this situation, and so many others in our lives, the choices we make create an end result where nobody wins.
Think about that.
How many situations do you hear about that cause people unnecessary pain or hardships?
Unfortunately, watching the news, we hear daily of people who makes the choice to lie, cheat or injure another in some manner by making a wrong choice. Something I have learned is that we truly know right from wrong, perhaps even if this knowledge is deep down inside. Perhaps we chose our behavior stemmed from anger or fear. No matter what, when we make the wrong choice, we sometimes cannot take back the outcome resulting from the action we chose to complete.
I wrote in our book, “History will repeat itself if we let it” a number of times. This sentiment can pertain to so many instances, unfortunately. We continue to hear many world problems without having solutions to stop things — the same things — from occurring over and over. Sometimes the outcomes result from choices that had stemmed from our irresponsibility in performing an act we know we should not be doing, and sometimes the outcomes result from greed. There are so many things I can write here as examples…
But, instead of actions to rid our society from these social ills, we have new laws and legislation to protect people from a potential injury or hardship — even though there is a root cause for everything.
Apparently just creating new laws against “wrong doings” is not working. We can look at legislation for illegal hand guns, texting / drunk driving, illegal drugs, and more… the stuff keeps happening. We also continue to hear stories of people taking financial advantage of others, even politicians that do so. Again, we all know right from wrong.
Perhaps it is time to take responsibility and make good choices. Simple things like not drinking and driving or texting and driving. Things that we hear about and just continue to do anyway, it seems. Perhaps we need to consider the feelings of others and make better choices before there are irreversible ramifications of our actions.
Something else I had written about in the book was waiting for “them” to fix things that are problems. Guess what — there is no “them”. There is “us”.
Change will result when WE start working together to make things change. People Helping People. Collaboration = Success. It’s Time to Enjoy Life.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life. Email her at email@example.com
Below is the press release we sent out for the Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Commuinity sign installation — the sign installation is in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service — as this is a first step in awareness and a positive reminder that it is most important for us to remember to enjoy life.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-331-2675 with any questions or for the full protocol on the steps to implement an Enjoy Life Community in your city or town.
Location: Corner of Route 347 and Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station, NY
What: In recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright will join the Enjoy Life Community™ Committee and members of Port Jefferson Station as the FIRST EVER Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community™ sign is installed. The sign is a marker for positive things to come, bridging the communication throughout the community, and the work that will be done together by those who live in the Port Jefferson Station / Terryville community.
The Enjoy Life Community™ project is sponsored by the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.
“The main goal of the Enjoy Life Community™ program is to bring ALL community organizations, groups and businesses together to focus on the needs of the community as a whole and not the problems; to encourage everyone to get involved; to spread the new of the good works community groups and people are currently doing; to eliminate the hopelessness that people feel; to eliminate the thinking that they are powerless and encourage them to believe that, as a community, we can achieve anything,” said Doreen Guma, Founder of the Time to Play Foundation.
“So many people are doing such great things in each and every community, but I have found that many people do not know what the are working on or the resources within the community available to them. Many times people feel hopeless and sit around and wait for “them” to fix things. I believe we are all people living together and it’s up to us to make things happen to benefit us all. Each Enjoy Life Community™ will become a “micro hub” where communities can create a wish list and everyone can “pitch in” so we can ALL enjoy life and make things happen. Nothing is impossible when we work together,” said Guma.
The “Welcome to our Enjoy Life Community™ signs that will be installed throughout the community is an important part of the program. The goal is for signs to be installed throughout the community to remind people of the importance to enjoy life, even if they are having a bad day; to trigger a positive momentum in the lives of all who live in the community; and to provide a positive visual focus to build community pride in the residents of the community. Additionally, goals for the program are to encourage community participation and decrease social isolation, especially in at risk members of the community’s population including youth, veterans and seniors.
“With all the negative news every day, there is no better time than the present to focus on the positive and what our community needs to enjoy our life, and to work together to make it happen,” said Doreen.
Something I’ve identified in my lifetime doing quality improvement and providing education to different groups of people regarding life situations (for example, I recently have been lecturing on diabetes prevention) is the concept of forever counseling. I’ll even go so far as to call it a cycle of failure.
Although I truly hate the word failure, and I’ll discuss that concept a little bit later in this article, I felt it would be the best word to use to convey the concept I’m trying to describe here. I believe many industries in our economy bank on our failure – the failure to successfully diet, failure to exercise, failure to have money. Just look at companies that offer weight loss programs, or the pharmaceutical companies, or gyms. They hope you fail so you keep coming back and spending your money. As a matter of fact, the self help industry has grown to be an $11 billion industry. I’m thinking success is not really the ultimate goal.
With 28 years in healthcare seeing the “sick and sad”, I decided there had to be a better way. I developed the Time to Play Philosophy with the hope to trigger people to “take their life back”, to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance. My goal since I’ve started this project, and now through the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit with the mission to inspire everyone to enjoy life, was to “plant a seed”. What does that mean? I figured we could have wonderful people (the whole project is built on a “people helping people” idea) with experience in each of these areas (happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance) who could educate others with SIMPLE tips or thoughts that anyone can easily implement into their lives so they could have a better life.
I’ve learned that you can write, talk, tell people and spread all the good ideas or suggestions you want, but unless someone is ready to change, it will not matter. I’ve seen people go to programs, counselors, courses… they are “in” for the time when they are there, and then fall back into the same routine when they leave.
People close to me even speak about hating their job, not having enough money, or being displeased with a life situation; but still they remain in the same day to day (not mentioning any names here – but, hint, hint — Gregory).
Why? It’s easier. Jim, my husband, and I have spoken about this numerous times and he always reminds me about the concept of the path of least resistance. Think about that for a moment. Everything in our world does take the path of least resistance. Even water flowing down a hill will go around an obstruction first.
That got me thinking about the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results”. Think about that for a moment, as well. I had written about that same concept in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” (www.ifIKnewThenBook.com) stating that history will repeat itself if we let it.
So, with that being said, I believe that, no matter what program, coach, seminar, book, class, or anything else you sign up for, nothing will change UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO MAKE THE CHANGE. Even in the diabetes prevention class I recently taught, I would watch the participants come. Week after week they had excuses why their weight did not change. They would say they had a hard week, had an event, had no time to exercise, or didn’t have time to follow the program. Week after week they would have no results and become discouraged. Week after week they did the same thing, expecting different results, but there were no different results.
There are no different results until you decide that it’s time for that to happen – that it’s time for a change.
This article was not intended to insult anyone or to make anyone feel bad or angry, but to spark a thought to consider what we each need to do to make our lives better. Each of us, even if we live in the same community or even in the same house or family, needs something different in our own lives to enjoy life. We are all living our own, different, experience, and we all have different needs.
BUT, I believe it is necessary, every once in a while, for us to take a moment to STOP and evaluate what’s going on in our day-to-day lives. I believe we are put on this earth to love life and not be a “tortured soul” (explained in chapter 2 of my book).
Let’s expand on this concept of life evaluation. I believe that we get so wrapped up in the day to day that, every once in a while, it becomes necessary for us to take a moment and look around. Kind of like a performance review on our own lives by the most important person in the world to us (ourselves).
Ask yourself – are you truly happy, healthy, have money (at least enough to pay our bills so you’re not stressed out) and/or a work life balance?
Take a moment to evaluate your life situation and then take a moment to write down what things could make your day a little better.
Next make a list of possible things you can do (change / implement) to make those things happen.
You have to decide if you could commit to implementing the items on the list. Sometimes the options are not realistic… I get it. BUT, I believe that, if you do just one small thing to get from here to there, it could make all the difference. Also, keep in mind that EVERY MOMENT of EVERY DAY is an opportunity for a “do over” in most cases. So, take those “do over” opportunities. Although I used the word failure when I began this article, I believe that, in reality, there is no actual failure, but just learning opportunities. A learning opportunity that allows for that “do over”.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year”….
No matter what advertisement sounds good, or no matter who tells you that “you should do ___________“ (fill in the blank), in the end, it is up to each of us to decide if we are ready.
I have learned that there are no shortcuts or magic potions. The answer is easy and lies within ourselves.
It is our own commitment TO ourselves.
So…. are you ready to make that change? It’s time to enjoy life.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at: www.TimetoPlay.com
As I sit here on New Year’s Day eating a piece of leftover coffee cake (thank you to Carmela), I reflect on the pressure we find ourselves in to set “resolutions”.
On New Year’s we feel obligated to “start over”, to reflect on what we’ve been through over the past year, etc.
This article is going to be very short and sweet. Yes, it’s New Year’s Day. Yes, it’s a “fresh” start that we are celebrating with thoughts of untold opportunities and limitless possibilities. But, guess what? Don’t forget that EVERY day is a fresh start. As a matter of fact, 86,400 seconds of every day, 365 days a year is an opportunity for a “do over”.
Probably the most important thing I’ve learned over these past years working on the Time to Play project is that NOTHING holds us back EXCEPT ourselves. NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE ELSE TELLS YOU. Do you want it? Figure out the best way, at that very moment, to make steps to get it. Do you want it? Figure out what is your next best move…. AND DON’T GIVE UP.
Not to say there is no purpose in New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. I believe this celebration gives us hope and is a reminder and a time to spark us to think about our dreams and hopes.
BUT, I believe, (myself included), that many of us are creatures of habit. Many times we start out with great intentions and fall into the same old routine. I believe that, sometimes we “forget” to pursue something because priorities push us in a different direction. Sometimes we get caught up in the “day to day”, and our vision becomes so distant. Companies like Weight Watchers or the local gyms bet on it.
I found statistics (see below) that list those same old resolutions, the things we promise ourselves year after year. But, like I noted earlier, it’s definitely our thought pattern that is the difference between “making” a resolution to seeing it to fruition.
What to do?
This year – and this day — CAN be different.
It is time for YOU to make your resolutions or visions happen.
I tried to simplify setting a “wish list” that can enable us to reach those dreams. First, I’ve learned that whatever we dream can happen, and whatever we think can happen. What I’ve learned is that it is important to focus on that desire.
Although people may disagree, I believe we have to combine intentions and goals. I believe it’s important to trust and let things happen FOR you, BUT, I also am realistic. I will never be able to separate having faith and not being an active participant to set out a list of things that need to be accomplished, finding ways to make them happen, and crossing them off my list. I stand by the saying “God helps those who help themselves”.
My proposal – make it easy. For this, the first day of 2015, or ANY day you are ready to make a change, put a “Wish List” together. The most important way to start is to identify what really is important and what are those dreams that you see for yourself. Note: One of the most important things I’ve learned in the recent past is that, if it doesn’t feel right, that’s probably not the way you should be heading or the thing you should be doing. It might be helpful to keep this in mind while you are making your list.
Also, when you’re making your “wish list”, don’t forget, nothing is impossible.
No worries. No pressure. Remember, you have 86,400 seconds of every day, 365 days a year to “start over”.
So, write down that list. Post it in the bathroom or on the refrigerator or someplace you are guaranteed to see it to keep it top of mind. I understand “life” gets in the way. Something happens and you can’t do what you had scheduled or it is hard to stay on track because there are so many distractions.
But, keep at it.
Look at that list every day.
Opportunities will “pop up” to make what seems impossible become possible. Keep aware. Look for opportunities to make these things on your list happen. And, make sure to update the list. Cross off what has been accomplished and add new “wishes” as you move forward. Seeing the progress is most gratifying and encouraging.
We are creatures of habit, but it is up to us to choose the habit in which we partake.
I wish you hope and many blessings for this year of 2015.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, Inc., a not for profit organization with the intention to encourage others to enjoy life. Please see www.TimetoPlay.com for more information and resources.
New Years Resolution Statistics — Included here just for fun: Let’s break the cycle! Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics
Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
Research Date: 1.1.2014
Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2014
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family
News Years Resolution Statistics
Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions
Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution
Percent who have infrequent success
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions
Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions)
Self Improvement or education related resolutions
Weight related resolutions
Money related resolutions
Relationship related resolutions
Age Success Rates
Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year
Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year
With the risk of making people angry at me, I felt compelled to write this article. It’s not intended to insult anyone but to make people THINK on their own and to stop casting blame. Guess what? WE are part of every situation and the outcome of every situation. The fault is not just of one person, but all of ours. Again, my intention here is to plant a seed and to make you think.
I felt especially compelled to write this article today, the day of the funeral of fallen police officer Ramos.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi
WE are powerful people. When we are silent, things occur that may not be pleasing to us. This is evident in EVERY area of our lives. But, yet we don’t necessarily take responsibility for the outcomes and then we BLAME others when things don’t work out the way we prefer. What do I mean? Let’s look at some examples that may occur in our everyday lives.
Relationships: This can be a love relationship, work relationship, a relative, or a friend. Sometimes we don’t like the behavior of someone. What do we do? Do we sit down and have an intelligent conversation and “lay it all out on the table”? Let’s be truthful… I would bet that, in the majority of instances, we don’t. Instead, we complain. Perhaps we go behind their back and do “stuff” that only exacerbates a situation to “get them”. Just our own talking about whatever “it” is makes us more angry and frustrated. A better way would be to talk about it TOGETHER and figure out the next step.
Maybe the person causing your issue isn’t aware of what they are doing? Think about your boss. They “make” you do stuff, or give you bad hours, or “take advantage”. My own children complain about this type of situation. The key word here is complain. Complaining does not get you anywhere. So, what do you do? Perhaps your supervisor or manager is overwhelmed in their own situation or the pressures of their position. Bringing them an awareness of what is troubling you or a hardship that is created may alleviate issues for you both. I’m sure they would appreciate it much more than the hostility, hard feelings and antagonistic behaviors that result when these type of feelings are held inside. My oldest son recently had been completely overwhelmed with his hours at work and his workload at college. Did he mention it to his manager? Nope. Would he have been better off if he had? Absolutely.
Again, we can apply this to every situation in our lives. A relationship with a relative or a spouse would definitely benefit from sitting down and working things out. Look at the ramifications of not doing this – the hostility, hurt, and the alienation that result when we don’t. This is evident in situations with relatives in my own family – who doesn’t like who, who doesn’t talk to who. And, how many people know someone going through a divorce? It is an amicable parting or are they trying to “screw” the other? Or, who knows people in a marriage that is “failing”? I truly believe there is a way to work things out. Talking about the feelings being harbored inside is definitely, in my opinion, the first step. Human beings are not mind readers and there is no way we can assume another party knows that they are troubling us or causing a hardship. Bullying comes to mind here, as well. Just “food for thought”, but at what point do we stand up for what is right? History repeats itself if we let it (I’ll explain this statement in a moment). We know there are issues, but do we continue to be enablers?
Another important thing to consider is that we have to let the person bringing us a situation the opportunity to speak. Instead, do we get defensive? I know I have been guilty of this myself… we justify our actions because, after all, we’re right, aren’t we? It’s important to listen to what the person coming to you is speaking about. Sometimes it makes sense to see what we don’t consciously see; even when something we did or said was not intended in the way it was perceived. But, here’s the beauty of this. We have the ability to work out whatever was the situation in a kind and amicable way. Perhaps we can even start over with a fresh perspective to make things better for all parties.
Responsibility — In today’s society there is so much thrown at us. So much news, so many opinions, so much stuff telling us how to think and what we should think.
Unfortunately, it is evident that this way is not productive. We can see the ramifications when people are caught up in the fervor. It’s the “lynch mobs” of yesteryear, the riots, like the time in our society of the Salem witch hunt. A few sentences ago I noted the statement of “history will repeat itself if we let it”. I wrote that in our book, If I Knew then What I Know Now (www.IfIKnewthenBook.com). Unfortunately, we continue to let it.
The Salem witch hunt, to me, was such a sad time in our nation’s history. We can see situations in our society’s history, again and again, of how fast people just “jump on the bandwagon”. It perplexes me how this can be. Perhaps an excuse for the actions of our people in the 1600’s was ignorance and lack of education. But, in the year 2014 (and almost 2015) it is hard to imagine that this can be an excuse. I believe many of us now run on political agendas and “blame”.
Maybe it’s time to stop and figure out what is the next best step to bring unity to our people. Look at the hardship and sadness that result from how we’re currently operating. Look at the negative feelings that are building and building in our society. Look at the instances where our politicians have forgotten who they work for an their harmful actions that cause irreparable damage. Again, it’s the year 2014. When will this madness stop? Why is it always “us” against “them”?
It’s time for each of us to take responsibility for our own actions, to sit down, to act like intelligent people and to make the best choices for the whole.
That’s really the means to a simple solution.
But, unfortunately, when we are silent – and I’m not talking about the noise being made by the angry mobs roaming the streets of our cities, as I believe these are extremely unproductive – we get nowhere.
What is the next best step? Where do we go from here?
Anger, frustration, hate, and fear are all unproductive.
Let’s figure out what is the best way for US to proceed forward at this time. The key word here is FORWARD, instead of progressively moving backwards. All we have to do is look at all the options and choose the best one – TOGETHER. Let’s take responsibility for our actions, alone and together. The alternative is just not acceptable.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Ghandi
A statement worth repeating again and again; only WE, together, can effectively create that change.
I woke up to this message on my LinkedIn this morning. “Congrats on Building Your Dream”. What better way to start the day?
Yes, I do believe I’ve “built my dream”. I’ll explain.
As many of you know, I’ve worked in healthcare since 1987, mostly in the field of quality improvement. I have identified that so many of us, young and old, work so hard, or get so caught up in the everyday or in life problems that seem monumental, that we forget we need to also enjoy life.
I’m not exempt from that philosophy. A few years ago I recognized that I had forgotten I needed to enjoy life, too. I lived always striving for more — more education, better job, etc., so I could be “good enough”. I won’t go into all the details here, but you can read the story in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, in which 17 contributors share heart-felt stories of how they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and moved forward to enjoy life, (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com). If you don’t want to read the book, you can contact me via email (email@example.com) or call 631-331-2675, ask questions, and I’ll fill you in.
I truly feel that, in many cases, we’re doing life “wrong”. I know wrong is a strong word, but don’t know how to explain this in an easier fashion without going into many pages of text. Short version is that we can look at statistics of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal ideation, unemployment of our college students, or debt, for example, and the root cause and ramifications of these issues. The focus in our society, in my opinion, is the “band-aid” approach. We are very reactive instead of proactive. My husband and I debate this a lot. He asks, “How do I know I need education in something I don’t have”, and I explain that when we look at people and what they go through, we can give them tools and tips and “plant seeds” of information that they can utilize if they find themselves in a situation.
Hence, the Time to Play Philosophy was born… that is, you have to be happy, healthy, have money, and a work life balance to have quality of life. People have noted “have money” is not important — I beg to differ. If you can’t feed your family or pay your rent, you are not enjoying life. You are stressed out.
So, I’ve been learning — a lot — over these past years. But, this time it was for MY enjoyment and education in order that I could have the tools and resources I needed to put the Time to Play Foundation together. The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. We have an amazing Business Advisory Board and Council of Professional Resources.
We have built tools and resources: We have articles and information to provide resources so you can have a better life. We have built Club Time to Play™ to provide learning without labeling, as I believe we are so fast to label. I believe that, sometimes, labels hurt more than they do good. Sometimes labels create a “downward spiral” in our own minds and hold us back from enjoying life. Club Time to Play™ is a big idea to encourage us to learn what we need to know so we can enjoy life. We have created BExtraordinary® make-up and unisex fragrance. There’s a long story how this came to be, too, but it’s intention is to inspire people to BExtraordinary®. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are. (If you want more info on this, go to www.BExtraordinaryfragrance.com and www.BExtraordinaryMakeup.com). We also have the Time to Play® clothing line, the intention of which is to remind not only YOU to enjoy life, but to spread the message to everyone who sees you.
The Pièce de résistance is our announcement of the Enjoy Life Communities™ project. (www.TheEnjoyLifeProject.org) This is truly a big idea — to bridge the good works of organizations already being done in a community, to enhance communication between those who live there, to eliminate duplication, to encourage people to work together, and to create a wish list of priorities that the WHOLE community can work together to achieve so everyone who lives there can enjoy life. It’s a POSITIVE instead of a negative. It’s a message of “Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community” instead of living in a neighborhood watch community, anti-bullying community, anti-drug community, at risk youth community, anti-crime community, etc. Not to diminish the importance of the work necessary to protect our people, but if we focus all of our attention on crime, drugs, at risk, bullying, etc., perhaps we’ll just attract more of this and bring people’s opinion of where they live down. How much better to live in an Enjoy Life Community™? Sometimes it’s just a little change in perspective. Everywhere a person lives can be the BEST community ever. It may only take a change of perspective and new found energy to make things change.
The other day someone called me a “tree hugger”. That’s not exactly an accurate term as I’m not an environmentalist, but I actually took it as a compliment. I would rather be a “tree hugger” and some people think I was annoying than be a pessimist, or “go with the flow” to believe that things can’t change and have to stay as they are. I’d rather be a “tree hugger” than think where I live, and the whole country, sucks. I would rather be a “tree hugger” and have hope that our children can have a better life — because if we leave things the way they are, we really are on a downward slide. Yesterday, one of our Business Advisory Board members told me that his daughter was at a store getting rung up and the cashier was exasperated. Somehow they got to speaking about the “mess” our children will be left with. I actually wrote about that in our book! I am tired of people saying, “What a mess we’re leaving for our kids”. Why leave it a mess? How about if we work towards making small changes to make things better? Just look at the news – or don’t if you want to have a nice day. There’s rarely a good story being reported. As a matter of fact, the other day, the news reporter said, “There’s a lot of sad news to report today”. I, for one, believe there is something good happening out there. Unfortunately, the good just isn’t as important as inciting fear, hatred, or riots. If it’s not a deadly illness that you will contract, it’s another story of horror or news that is slanted in a way to create pain, stress and division in our people.
After years of working on the Time to Play project, yes, I’ve “built my dream“. After giving up and quitting many times, yes, I’ve “built my dream”. After feeling like I’d never make it, yes, I’ve “built my dream”. Tree Hugger and all!
But, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of people to reach. The goal here is “people helping people” and “collaboration = success”. There are tons of people, not for profit and for profit organizations out there doing great things. We can all work together and get further faster.
There’s much to be done to encourage those who are discouraged that they have the power within themselves to enjoy life. I believe this with every fiber of my soul.
We’re all in this together. It’s Time to Play. It’s Time to Enjoy Life. If not now, when?
With much love,
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation. See www.TimetoPlay.com for more information. You can also contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-331-2675.
Enjoy Life Community Announcement at Brookhaven Town Board Meeting
I was privileged this past week to have our Enjoy Life Community™ committee and members of the Time to Play Foundation’s Business Advisory Board attend the Town of Brookhaven’s Board meeting to announce the Enjoy Life Community™ Project. The first Enjoy Life Community™ is in the process of forming in Port Jefferson Station, New York. It is an amazing concept, and something that I know people will embrace so we can ALL have a better life and enjoy life.
I cannot describe the feeling I had presenting this to the Town Board. This project is something I have been working toward for many years.
Thank you to our community coordinator, Christian Dideriksen and our core committee Christina Grimes, Michael Dorn, Dina Simoes, Jacki Kirsch, Charles McAteer and Jeff Kito. Thank to to our dedicated Business Advisory Board Members of the Time to Play Foundation Dr. Joseph Rella, Nick LaMorte, Kevin McCormack, and to the Business Advisory Board Victoria Molloy whose intelligence and energy never ceases to amaze me. Thank you to Jennifer and Councilwoman Cartwright – your support is a driving force behind us.
The following is the LONG version of what I did want to say at the Town Board Meeting, but I only had 3 actual minutes to speak, so I had to cut it down significantly. I figured I would post it here to give readers an overview of what we’re aiming to do.
If you would like to get more information, please email me at email@example.com or call our office at 631-331-2675. We have a whole protocol which we would love to share with your community – and this is applicable for anywhere in the country (or international if there is interest)!
It’s Time to Enjoy Life!
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Good evening Supervisor Romaine, Town Clerk Lent and members of the Board. My name is Doreen Guma, and I am the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.
I am here this evening to make you aware of a new community initiative called the Enjoy Life Community™ Program, the first of which is launching in Port Jefferson Station, my own home town. I am currently in the process of introducing the concept to other communities, as it is believed that every community should be an Enjoy Life Community™ .
We acknowledge that there are many organizations in EVERY community that do wonderful things. As a matter of fact, our current inaugural committee, our enjoy life ambassadors, are still in the process of contacting and explaining the concept of the Enjoy Life Community to the over 50 organizations in Port Jefferson Station. Our inaugural group has met a few times, but it is the goal of the Enjoy Life community to include everyone and every organization – for example rotary clubs, civic associations, business improvement districts, volunteer fire departments, schools, PTAs, clubs, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies, girl scouts, boy scouts, healthcare providers, veterans service organizations, and our elected officials… we are all in this together.
The intention of the Enjoy life community is NOT to duplicate what is already being done by a community’s groups, but to provide an opportunity, through the enjoy life community coordinator, committee and enjoy life ambassadors, to prioritize projects and programs needed, collaborate together and achieve. The enjoy life community will not focus on problems, but the goal is to proactively embrace what our community needs to enjoy life.
The enjoy life community also creates a cohesive way to disseminate the information about what our amazing organizations are doing and to identify ways to support each other and work together to identify ways we can make things better… and, then, to make it happen!
Therefore, the goal of the Enjoy Life Community™ is to bring ALL community organizations, groups and businesses together to focus on the needs of the community as a whole and not the problems; to encourage everyone to get involved, to spread the news of the good works community groups and people are currently doing; to eliminate the hopelessness or powerlessness feeling that people feel, and encourage them to believe that, as a community, we can achieve anything.
Another feature of the enjoy life community will be the welcome to our enjoy life community signs, which we envision installed throughout the community, to remind people of the importance to enjoy life. It is hoped that the reminder will trigger a sense of pride and a positive momentum in the lives of all who live here.
The Enjoy Life Community will become a micro hub where we can create a wish list and everyone can pitch in so we can ALL enjoy life and make things happen. Where we can focus on the positive of what we need to enjoy life, not the problems and negative, for example neighborhood watch communities which say “we have crime here”, or anti drug task force or anti anything which absolutely emphasize the issues and problems. How amazing would it be to replace those “neighborhood watch” signs with “We are an Enjoy Life Community” signs. We are not disqualifying the good works being done or discounting the value of these types of committees and functions. We acknowledge that they may be necessary and that they may be part of the enjoy life community’s objectives… but, just think of the possibilities of turning to the positive and what the concept of the Enjoy Life Community™, can do.
Nothing is impossible when we work together.
The enjoy life community will also provide a centralized location, both online and off, to inform people of all the good work and great resources that are currently in our communities. With every organization involved, the information about what’s going on and what the Enjoy life Community’s focus is will be easily communicated.
We believe that when people know the needs, goals and objectives of the Enjoy Life community™, we believe so many more will get involved in the initiative and be an active part of the good works being done and the good works that will be done, together. We hope that people will feel good about and proud about where they live and become enjoy life ambassadors of their community, which is what we here, before you, are today. I, and those next to me are the first enjoy life ambassadors for Port Jefferson station.
Each enjoy life community™ will have a coordinator and a committee made up of liaisons of all of the community organizations and any interested community members not yet part of an organization. The enjoy life community will also act as a central repository for existing resources, and, together, the committee will develop a list of priorities where the community can work together to fill in the void where there is a need.
I am pleased to be joined tonight by an amazing and dedicated group – the first enjoy life ambassadors for the Port Jefferson Station community. The committee coordinator is Christian Dideriksen, a lifelong member of Port Jefferson Station and volunteer firefighter. Christina Grimes, Michael Dorn, Dina Simoes, Jacki Kirsch, Charles McAteer and Jeff Kito. Also here tonight are some of our dedicated Business Advisory Board Members of the Time to Play Foundation Dr. Joseph Rella, Nick LaMorte, Kevin McCormack, and Board Chair Victoria Molloy, who fully support this initiative.
Over the last few months I have met with my Councilwoman, Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright, to inform her about the Enjoy Life community™ project. We are looking forward to her participation at our first event and our first full committee meeting scheduled for 11/6. It is our hope that the Town board will be supportive of this endeavor and that we will have opportunities to collaborate and partner in the future.
The Time to Play Foundation’s mantra is collaboration = success and people helping people. We look forward to helping Port Jefferson Station and many more communities to Enjoy Life.
I like to learn and observe. It’s how I understand things and how I grow. Over and over again I have become more aware of examples of behaviors that completely adversely affect others. I truly believe, deep down, that we might not actually realize our impact on another person and the effect it might have.
I recognize the idea of cause and effect and know that something a person may experience may cause a domino affect in their behavior. That domino affect can cause them to act inappropriately to another. Again, sometimes we may just get caught up in the situation we are experiencing and might not even realize what our impact on another may be.
I believe this is a very hard topic to discuss without making someone angry. I started thinking about this topic this morning after receiving a text from my son. He was at work, and he texted that if he could not transfer stores he was quitting his job. He is currently having a bad experience with a coworker. I felt so bad for him because I can feel his pain. We’ve all most likely been there and can all agree that it’s an experience that is so unnecessary.
That got me to thinking about a news report I saw only a few days ago on TV regarding people’s dissatisfaction at their jobs and the huge statistic that had been reported as part of the story regarding bullying in the workplace. I did Google to try to find the report and came up with an article published on Forbes.com on 9/18/14: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2014/09/18/one-in-five-workers-has-left-their-job-because-of-bullying. The article discussed that nearly 1/3 of people have experienced bullying, a statistic that crosses over gender and racial lines; men, women, Caucasian, Asian, African-American – it doesn’t matter. The article also discussed that people in management positions were also experiencing bullying. In the article a woman named Rosemary Haefner was quoted in a statement that, “Bullying impacts workers of all backgrounds regardless of race, education, income, and level of authority within an organization.”
Just imagine how the behavior of one or more in a workplace affects others. In a work situation, the unfortunate scenario is that many people cannot just quit a job because of family obligations. The behaviors of others can significantly impact a person where they will be so affected and frustrated and stressed that they will not be able to let the feeling go; hence the domino effect. How do you think they will interact with others if they have to deal with a situation that is disturbing to them? A situation they know they cannot change and that is causing significant distress in their lives? And, how does this effect the atmosphere in the workplace as a whole and, to go further, the lives of their family and friends?
The information in the article is not new. Just Google bullying in the workplace – there are many articles available for you to read. I’m sure there is also a lot of information in studies available, in general, about the impact of making others feel badly about themselves.
History will repeat itself if we let it. This is something I wrote in my book, If I Knew then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com). I also discussed the saying “Words Cut Like a Knife” in the book. Both of these statements are, sadly, true.
I believe it is so important to really think about the impact we have on others – what we say, what we don’t say, and our actions.
Have you promised someone you would do something and then gone back on that promise? If it’s your child, it could be something so simple like playing ball or going for ice cream – something so simple that can have a negative impact on them for years to come.
How about a spouse? Have you promised something and not followed through? How about something you promised a friend, or a co-worker? Have you kept your promise or obligations? Have you returned that call, email or text???
Our actions, or non-actions, can make impacts others that we may not even consider. You know how our brains work and how people sometimes dwell on things. I hate to even go there, but, I believe that sometimes what we say, do, or don’t say to another can even cause a situation so significant that it can have a life or death impact.
I believe we’re here to encourage others, to embrace the dreams of others, to make things happen. I believe we are people that are supposed to help people.
I personally live by the mindset of people helping people and collaboration = success.
I believe that when we respect each other and when we work together magic WILL happen.
Stop fighting. Stop blaming. Stop finding fault. Stop not following through.
What have you promised?
What will your actions do to another? Will they help them or hinder them?
Think before you speak or act . . . something that may seem so simple or not important to you might really cause someone to hurt inside very deeply and impact their lives in a truly negative manner.
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at: www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org
The articles I have written for the past months have all centered on how to empower yourself and how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward, no matter what the situation. Usually I base these articles on some type of personal life experience I have had or a thought that comes to my mind due to something in the news or something I have seen.
This article is a little different. It’s more about looking at things outside yourself and actually seeing what is happening outside of your own daily experience. That overview statement is not meant to be rude. I just know that we become so busy in our everyday that sometimes we don’t “see”.
How many people have you ever talked to, or met, who you thought had an amazing talent or potential. Have you ever “taken that person by the hand” to help them aspire to be all they can be? We’ve all heard those sayings and phrases like “diamond in the rough”. The concept here is seeing that diamond and helping it shine.
My son Gregory (he’s a psychology major in NYC) and I speak about people who have dreams and desires and wind up in “dead end” jobs instead of pursuing their passion. I know that we all get stuck sometimes and have to take a job to feed the kids and pay the bills; however, from personal experience, (it took me 20 years to get my Master’s degree) and seeing others achieve that “life-long” dream, there is possibility for each and every one of us to do what’s in our hearts.
Sometimes, I’ve learned, we just have to chip away at “it” until “it” becomes reality – even taking those 20 years to accomplish. I read something many years ago by Ann Landers – many of you may never have heard of her. She passed away years ago and was an advice columnist that had a daily column in the newspaper. Someone had written to “Dear Ann Landers” and said they were considering going back to school but that it would take them 8 years to complete. She answered by writing back something like, “The 8 years will pass whether you go to school or not, so why not go?” Truly, I’ve lived by those words. I know you can make anything happen that you want to, and I do know the years will pass whether you do it or not. But, when you choose NOT to do it, there may be regrets. I choose to live life so I will have NO REGRETS. What do you choose?
Inspire others is the hope to create awareness to look at the positives, to see the potential, and to stop labeling people as sick, sad, depressed, “no good”… Perhaps it is time to look at the “diamond” and to see what they can be, to take them “by the hand” and encourage them to go for it. In my experience this has been the absolute opposite of what actually happens. I have experienced more people saying why they can’t or telling others why they can’t than actually making it happen. Maybe it’s easier. Maybe, deep down, they don’t want others to achieve what is in their hearts. Maybe that’s tough to say or tough to hear. Maybe we need to stop believing things can’t be done.
I believe the awareness, or a reminder that WE CAN, is all anyone needs. Sometimes all someone may need is to take a moment to stop, take a step back, and look at the possibilities. Sometimes, I’ve realized and I’ve seen, all it takes is the time to objectively look at and evaluate a situation, objective, or goal in order to find paths that will take us to where we want to be or to what we want to achieve.
That’s one of the driving forces behind Time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation. To encourage people to not have regrets. We only get one shot at this life, and there may not be an opportunity for “do-overs”.
Today, when you go to work, the store, school, or anywhere else, don’t disqualify the people who do even the smallest tasks. Take a moment to stop and talk to them. What do they love, what is their passion, what do they dream about.
Over the past weeks I have been working to coordinate the I CAN BExtraordinary® Fashion Show to benefit Special Olympics at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY that will be held this Saturday, 9/13.
Why did I choose Special Olympics Athletes to be models? These athletes inspire me. They are amazing examples of not seeing an obstacle, of making something happen, of “going for the gold”.
These Atletes don’t let anything stop them from achieving their goals.
They are absolutely extraordinary, and absolutely a learning example to those who think they can’t do something.
They Can. YOU Can. Others Can.
Look around today. Who is that diamond in the rough that just needs a little encouragement?
Inspire someone. Go for the gold.
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Doreen Guma is a person who has believed in “people helping people” her whole life, leading to the founding of Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com) and the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. See more at www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org
Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (a board certified healthcare executive), a Certified Professional Coach and a Certified Life Coach.
Doreen is the founder of Time to Play, a place to find resources for a better life. She came up with the Time to Play Philosophy that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance to have quality of life, and believes everyone has the right and the ability to enjoy life.
Doreen has worked in healthcare since 1987, 14 years in a hospital and since 2001 in skilled nursing facilities. She has held positions in administration, as the Director of Quality Improvement, Risk Manager and Director of Medical Records.
In 2005 she and her husband opened D. James Marketing, a healthcare specific consulting firm which assists healthcare organizations with new program generation, quality improvement, staff and client satisfaction, event coordination, coordinating educational symposiums and more to help spread the message about the healthcare servics they provide. The primary goal of D. James Marketing is to educate the community about resources that are available so people may know where to seek help in the event of a health need or a health crisis with a focus on proactive prevention.