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
This quote, “You can run but you can’t hide”, attributed to Joe Lewis, American Heavyweight Boxer, popped into my mind the other day. It can’t be more true.
As I sit here writing this, I think about the dentist appointment I’ve been putting off and the other things on my “to do” list that I prefer to ignore. I absolutely know that there is no room in our lives to put things off. They will always come back to haunt you; sometimes with a vengeance.
This quote perfectly pertains to the Time to Play Philosophy, which identifies that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life. In my experience, and my belief, you cannot ignore any of these areas in achieving balance.
As a person who has worked in healthcare for the majority of my life, I absolutely can attest that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything… Grandma used to say that all the time, and, trust me; I have seen people living in nursing homes with health issues that may have been preventable. This is a subject discussed in our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life(www.IfIKnewThenBook.com). I recognize that if you ignore a health concern, it just won’t go away.
What to do? We all, deep down, know what’s right and what’s wrong. You know if you’re eating the incorrect things. It’s all definitely a choice, and I’m certainly far from perfect. As a person with a gluten sensitivity, many times I’ll default to a food item that I know is “safe” as far as gluten is concerned but that is a non-preferred food choice as far as “health”; for example, potato chips – something that has become a “go to” when I’m at a party and there is nothing else available. Being too busy to eat the way I know is best is also a great excuse I make, even now at 48 years old.
I know that planning ahead in most every area of life is key, but I am old enough to recognize that planning ahead can sometimes be overwhelming.
I also know now that each moment of each day enables a new choice, which is a very reassuring thought to me. This enables practical behavior and an opportunity to change whatever I’m doing, at any time, to accommodate whatever my needs are at that given moment.
However, with age, it becomes even more apparent to me. I now know you can’t hide.
You can’t hide from troubling issues that impact your happiness, whether it is a work relationship, a personal relationship or a family relationship. If you ignore something, it’s still there. Not only is it still there, but it’s in your mind all the time. Sometimes it is hidden, but it always, somehow, makes it back into your thought pattern. Sometimes the thoughts become haunting and can take you from having a great day to bringing you down. Thoughts may be triggers that can, if you listen, make you aware that it is time to address something, change something, or do something. If you are in a situation that affects your happiness, it may be time to reevaluate that, too. What is in your current experience that will enable you to make a change?
Change is hard and people resist change. We’d rather just deal with the situation that is known vs. trying something new. However, there definitely becomes a time when what we’re dealing with, if it’s not working for us, has to change. My husband and I ask our kids all the time who the most important person in the world is. Do you know? It’s YOU. Sometimes I think we forget that. In reference to happiness, perhaps it is time to look at your options and move forward. It’s better to address a situation than to let it linger and affect your every day living.
You can’t hide from financial concerns. This is a big one that, in my experience, gets pushed to the back burner. There is a lot of help out there for people if they are overburdened. Just Google debt counseling in your area. There are always options. A quick story in reference to this topic. My oldest son was very big on complaining that there were no jobs available. He stayed in a job that he hated and that paid him less than he needed to make his rent and other bills. We encouraged him to apply to others, but he stayed in that job that created financial hardship for him and that also made him feel stressed and frustrated every day for almost an entire year. Throughout my life I’ve seen people stay in situations like this for many years. I now believe that, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you cannot find a job that accommodates your needs, make one! That’s in our book, too. No one ever said you have to work for another person. We are all powerful and have amazing talents. You can be what you want to be. I know we sometimes forget the enormous power we have within. I know that, sometimes, we lose our power and that, sometimes, we feel helpless. Especially in this time where there is so much fear of losing jobs in our current society. I acknowledge that, yes, “things” have changed. However, I also realize that we all have to change with the times.
What are you good at? What do you love to do? Figure out where and how you can “work” in what you love. This ties in with the work life balance, the remaining part of the Time to Play Philosophy. It’s been said many times that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. I believe that 1,000%.
Is making a change easy? Not necessarily. Does it take work and does it take persistence? Absolutely.
However, I truly believe we all have the power within to make it happen. I know you know you can do it. All of it.
It’s up to YOU to make it possible.
Perhaps today is the time to stop hiding. Perhaps it’s time to take that first step to enjoy life. I guess I’d better get on the phone with that dentist.
Oh, and if you need guidance or support, we do have an amazing team of professionals who are available to help. Just reach out and we’ll guide you to the right one.
Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive with 28 years in healthcare and a certified professional life coach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631-331-2675
How many times have you said “I CAN’T”. How many times have you heard others say “I CAN’T”.
I believe that these two words used together should be banished from our vocabulary, as well as from our minds.
As a student of everyday learning, I will use a recent experience as an example. I know we’re not alone in what happens to us, and so many have experiences where they learned something that could be shared that can help another (see our book, www.IfIKnewthenbook.com).
My recent experience is a great illustration of the power of “CAN’T”.
I had wanted a motorcycle for the past 28 years. After a friend recently pass away at 48 years old (my age), I decided today was “someday”. Sometimes it takes something to occur to motivate us into action today instead of waiting for the someday. This was the tipping point.
I enrolled in a class, never before sitting in the driver’s seat of a motorcycle but on the back of my husband’s for all these years. I did pretty good driving, I thought, only falling over once due to operator error making a very small u-turn at a speed a turtle couldn’t even turn at. I actually did that a total of three times in three different instances – kind of just falling over, not really “dropping the bike”, at the slowest speed ever trying to make a u-turn. No big deal, I just picked it up, got back on, and continued to go cautiously slow and putt along.
On with the story…
So, now I have my permit, some skills education and a motorcycle that my husband and son drove 10 hours to pick up for me. It’s a cute little Suzuki Boulevard, 650cc, 352 pounds, small enough so I can put my feet comfortably on the ground when I stop, and powerful enough that I can drive on a main road. As a driver with a permit, a licensed motorcyclist has to be with you at all times and no more than ¼ mile away on the roads. Jim, my husband, who has been riding for 30 years, and my son Nick who has had his own motorcycle for the past two years, took me out that very night after returning home. I drove around a little in the local school’s parking lot, doing “o.k.” After practicing two other evenings, I decided I sucked driving the motorcycle because I couldn’t turn well. It seemed the more I drove around the parking lot, the worse I was doing. Straight was no problem, but the ability to turn just seemed to perplex me. I even watched YouTube Videos on how to ride a motorcycle and considered taking more classes. I felt more overwhelmed and unsure of my skill level than I had the first day that I had sat on one.
I woke up yesterday morning deciding “I CAN’T” turn well enough and that I was not sure I wanted to continue in this endeavor. Key words: I decided I CAN’T. Nevertheless, Jim decided we would go out driving again last night. I suited up (all the gear, all the time!), got on the bike and we drove to the junior high school parking lot 1/4 mile away from our home. We drove around the parking lot a few moments, and I stopped in the middle of the space stating that I had quit. I told Jim that I felt I just didn’t have the skills, that I didn’t feel the effort was worth it, that I was done with the endeavor and wanted to sell the motorcycle. He looked at me, said fine, and proceeded to drive out of the school driveway to what I believed was towards our home and our garage.
Instead, he made a right turn out of the parking lot. Remember the rules – I had to be within ¼ mile of him… I cursed a bit and was absolutely in disbelief that he did not turn towards our home, but I figured he would just be going to the one side street that also looped to our home. Nope. He kept going straight. I cursed a little bit more… but followed. He went around the very quiet back streets in our neighborhood, and I followed. He stopped and I pulled up along his side. “Feel better?” he asked, and, surprisingly, I did. He started driving again, and I followed. We crossed at a few stop signs where there were actual cars waiting for their turn, and I had to cross. After a little bit further, when he pulled over to check in again, he said we were going on the MAIN ROAD. I asked if he thought I was ready. He said he had life insurance if I was not – funny right?
He went. I followed. I made it.
I CAN. But I had let my mind believe I could not.
Allowing our minds to take over with a “CAN’T” can, and will, steal our confidence. For example, thoughts or verbalizing to others statements like, “I can’t get that job”, “I can’t do that task”, “I can’t pass that test”, “I can’t go to school”, “I can’t ___________” (fill in the blank).
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” His words ring true to many people every day.
Aside from this public testimonial that Jim is amazing and that I’m really glad I have been his partner for the past 31 years, it never ceases to amaze me what we can learn every day about ourselves and what we can achieve.
Later that night we talked about the experience and I thanked him again for what he did, his patience, and his belief that I could ride my motorcycle. I told him that I was in disbelief that he made that right turn; that I truly was heading home to our garage never to sit on that motorcycle again. He said it was a split decision, that at the school’s traffic light he realized what would happen and decided to make that right turn.
What a difference one little decision can make in our lives.
What decisions have you made? What can you do to break down a task or a goal or an objective that seems too large, or not possible, to make it possible? To achieve it? To conquer it?
Henry Ford is right… it is our mind and our “can’t” that we have to combat sometimes to turn around a situation where we feel defeated.
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It is Time to Play. www.TimetoPlay.com = It’s time to Enjoy Life. The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is 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.
Every once in awhile (actually more than once in awhile ever since I’ve worked on becoming more present in “the moment” I am in), I find I learn things just by watching or listening to others — whether it is something a person will say in conversation or in passing, or while observing the actions of another.
Recently I learned something very important from my daughter. We can learn from our children, and, perhaps, they can provide us with the best lessons and guidance…
A few days ago I drove my daughter Jackie to the oral surgeon’s office to have all four of her wisdom teeth surgically removed. It was her decision to have the procedure, as she was experiencing pain from her teeth. I was prepared to take care of whatever she needed for the procedure and recovery.
We arrived at the oral surgeon’s office and a paperwork issue caused a delay in starting the procedure. I should mention that Jackie was absolutely mentally and physically prepared for the surgery. She had NO fear or reservations about it in any way. Actually, she was even excited about it. I’ve spoken to others who also were excited to have procedures done expecting the pain following the surgeries to be less than what they were experiencing currently. She was in that frame of mind. When the dentist’s office noted that they may have to reschedule, she matter-of-factly stated that that was not even an option and that she was there to have her teeth removed. At that, they proceeded to do the extraction.
She came through with flying colors, like she just went in for a regular cleaning — totally fine, ready to go home. She tackled her recovery in the same manner – like it was “no big deal”. She took her antibiotic, ate mushy food that she chose and, for the most part, cooked herself. She got her own ice packs when she needed them… She absolutely took care of her own business. There was no pity party here, no attitude of “woe is me”.
I was amazed at her positive, strong, no issue Attitude.
In retrospect, I believe that if she had been fearful about the procedure or had a different expectation about her recovery she would not have had the same experience. As a matter of fact, that same evening she even took a shower and went to a wake of a friend who had passed away. She had been totally determined to go, and she did.
Watching her and observing her Attitude and actions brought me to writing this article.
I believe Attitude and a positive outlook are probably the most important mindsets we need to be aware off within our day… every day.
Hey, I’m certainly not perfect. We’re all human. I get tired or overwhelmed at times. I also tend to over-think things and create scenarios and “what ifs”. Jackie had no “what ifs” in her experience. She just went with the flow.
My current daily goals include striving to be positive and to have the best Attitude possible. My goal, and the goal of my family who constantly remind me if my behavior shifts otherwise, is to become aware of an Attitude shift as soon as possible. Becoming aware of an undesirable behavior allows me to stop, reevaluate the situation or experience I am facing, and make a change in my behavior; a change for the better so I can enjoy my day and my life.
Having a good Attitude is work on my part! But I’ve definitely acknowledged that my life is so much better without the old “doom and gloom” going on. And, I believe that having a positive Attitude sure beats the alternative, which may include feeling poorly, down, sad and/or depressed.
Going one step further, I decided to Google the definition of “Attitude”. Here’s what I found: “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior; example: ‘she took a tough attitude toward other people’s indulgences’”. There was also a second definition of, “a position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.”
Let’s just review the definition for a moment: “A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior” – it’s all right there. What we think may directly affect our behavior. What we feel may directly affect our behavior. I don’t know about you, but the main goal I have every day is just to have a nice day. At the end of the day, I want to get into bed each night with a smile and knowing that I had a great day — every day. If what we think or what we feel is not positive and proactive, if what we think or what we feel makes us feel sad or bad, then, hopefully, we have an ability to make some sort of a change in our day or in our lives in order to feel differently, and, hopefully, better.
Think about the second part of the definition of Attitude for a moment. “A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.” This part of the definition really tells me how what we think or what we feel not only comes out in our mental state and behavior, but in our body mechanics. How do you feel when you have a bad Attitude — when something is bothering you? I believe it does come out in our bodies – in our posture and/or in pain like a headache or backache. Our Attitude affects more than just our behavior. Our attitude also affects our health – positively or negatively.
Life is not always a bowl of cherries. Last night I had an opportunity to see someone I hadn’t seen in years. He was working two full time jobs and was so exhausted. He had the hopes to move out of State in a few years to retire. I asked him what would make him keep going in a displeasing situation and wait for “someday”. Certainly I have realized, over and over, that we stop objectively seeing what is going on around us and to us. Sometimes we become almost like robots in our actions and our lives. Many people live “on the hamster wheel” not enjoying life, but dealing with life and not really living.
What is your daily Attitude? Is it one of positivity, or one of frustration and stress?
Do you wake each day ready to conquer the world, knowing it’s going to be a great day, with a smile on your face? Or do you start each day dreading the situation where you are in life and just “existing”?
Even if things aren’t perfect in our lives, our Attitude can make things so much better. We’ve heard the stories of the people who have survived less than ideal situations in their lives because of their Attitude and how they knew they were going to make it through. Their positive outlook got them there.
Today, perhaps, do an Attitude check, and don’t forget to take a moment to smile. It’s time to Enjoy YOUR Life. It’s Time to Play.
This article was sparked by our unexpected trip through Gettysburg, Pennsylvania yesterday. We actually were in Pennsylvania “playing” at the York Fairgrounds Jeep show and passed a sign for Gettysburg National Park and Cemetery. Jim thought it would be a great opportunity to visit Gettysburg, as we were so close, so we went.
For anyone who does not know about Gettysburg, it is a place of tremendous honor. It is a place where thousands of soldiers died fighting to support what they believed to be right. For me, it was a place where I felt a tremendous sadness; I had many thoughts running through my mind while we were there. The Civil War divided our great Nation and families within. In five years of fighting there are estimates that 620,000 soldiers died in the Civil War, with new estimates of that bring the number of dead closer to 820,000. This number of loss was staggering to me, especially as it was our families fighting ourselves.
In reality, this article really is not about war, at all, but about a concept. This article is not about slavery nor does it have anything to do with the civil rights movement or movements of other people who fought for their rights throughout history – or about those in other countries still fighting for what they believe is the right way to live.
It is more about how I can’t understand how one person feels it is appropriate to gain power over another. This is a struggle that is apparent throughout history and continues today from what may be a simple relationship to, perhaps, a leader of a group, to, perhaps a leader of a country. The concept is more that of oppression and the creation of fear.
I, certainly, am not one who has any ability to figure out why anyone would think they are better than another, why people think certain groups, for example, women (as I am one of them), are not equal – even in today’s world. However, it is not up to me to determine how a person could feel superior to another and how they can feel good about themselves to do whatever is in their power to create obstacles to assure they stay that way. I believe people are people – living and breathing — and that everyone has the same right to enjoy life. I believe in people helping people and collaboration = success; that we can get so much further working together to make things better for us all.
With that hopefully explained, this really has more to do with concepts, awareness, and OUR OWN feelings, inside of OURSELVES, which hold us back. It is about tolerating our current situation or becoming aware to change our own environment, to the best of our ability. It is intended to spark an idea that could re-empower ourselves to move forward in life, and to stop being prisoners in our own lives. To begin an awareness to find and to learn what we, ourselves, need so we can enjoy life.
History repeats itself if we let it. This concept is more fully discussed in our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com). I believe there are no “these people” or “those people”. I believe we are all people. I believe that if you are currently in a situation where you feel violated, abused or bad, you have to find a way to make a change to make your life better. I’m speaking about any situation here – whether a living situation, a health situation, a work situation, a financial situation, a friendship, a family relationship – anything that makes you feel bad or inferior. The first step is awareness. The next is to come up with ideas or ways that you can make the situation change – to weigh your options, to seek assistance, to make things better.
It pains me that there are situations out there where the benefit of the few creates negative situations for the many. I was going to go into some examples, but I thought it would become too political, and that is absolutely not where I wanted to go here. It is more about individual capabilities and individual choice. NO ONE says we have to stay in whatever present situation where we currently are. I believe we can choose to let things happen to us, or we can, individually, create the living situation(s) we desire. No one says implementing a change is going to be easy, but I hold to the belief that it is possible. We might start and fail, but we can try again. If we think it is impossible to make anything change, we are holding our own selves back.
If you don’t think “it’s time” to do so, ask yourself, “If not now, when”? Life is short. Every day that passes is a potential missed opportunity. After all, I believe it is time to enjoy life. I believe it is “time to play”.
www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a Better Life. It’s Time to be Happy, Healthy, Have Money and a Work Life Balance. It’s Time to Enjoy Life.
This week’s article is a general discussion on choice and some things I’ve become more aware of as I’m learning.
For those who don’t know the story about how Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com) started, about 4 years ago I realized I had an amazing life, but that I wasn’t “enjoying” life – I was just going through the motions of getting up, going to work, taking care of what I could fit into a 24 hour day and repeating the same thing the next day. Then, as now, I have had a WONDERFUL family, kids, husband (together 31 years) and a great job. I can’t say I have had a bad living experience in any way, but just felt like I wasn’t noticing the “right stuff” as I went along, that the days just flew by, and that I felt like I was missing something.
Time to Play was founded when I decided to start re-learning how to enjoy my life. I came up with the Time to Play Philosophy – you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life. I’m not going to go into the specifics of why I chose each area in this article; perhaps I’ll do that for next week’s article. But, the underlying thought here is that I believe we need to learn what we need to know to enjoy life and the goal of Time to Play. To provide different resources for different people, as I know that everyone’s circumstance is different, and that different people have different needs. But, each of us REALIZING something needs to be learned or that something needs to change is the most important thought here. We can only ignore things for so long. They will always resurface.
The following are the two most important things I have learned, so far, that have made a HUGE difference in how I feel and my general happiness.
The first was learning that I was never in the “NOW”, meaning I was always looking towards tomorrow, not really taking notice what was happening in front of my face. I realized I did not always take notice and enjoy my present experience; I was always thinking of my “to do” list, what was next, and where I had to be. I’m sure many of you can relate, and I believe we’re really conditioned for future-thinking in today’s society. For goodness sakes, there are now Christmas trees for sale in stores in what – September? It’s no wonder why we’re always thinking about the next thing.
The other thing I have learned, and that’s what today’s article is about, is that I have a CHOICE of how I am able to feel at any given moment. This was a HUGE revelation and something everyone is capable of realizing. The most important thing I learned is that it is my choice to remain in a situation. Whatever I was experiencing at that time could enable me to feel GOOD or BAD. I have learned that we do NOT have to stay in a situation, whatever it is, if it makes us feel bad.
I need to digress a moment. I recently read a book by Florence Schovel Shinn called The Game of Life and How to Play It. This book was written in the 1920s. In our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com) I discussed how history repeats itself if we let it. Since starting Time to Play I’ve become educated through the experiences and teachings of authors including Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peal, Dale Carnegie, etc., who wrote books in the 1950s. Through these and my recent read by Ms. Shinn, I continue to marvel at the wisdom of learning from people who have been here before us. That’s pretty much the basis of our book, as well — “Don’t do what we did – pick yourself up and dust yourself off – we made it, you can too — move forward… “, important lessons we can glean from others every day. I believe that everyone has something to offer that can help another.
O.K., back to our discussion – Ms. Shinn’s book, another I just finished reading, “Ask and It is Given”, by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and awareness and teachings by our own Rebecca L. Norrington, Happiness professional on www.TimetoPlay.com, it is emphasized that we are in control of our situations; that we have the option to feel good or bad. There’s really no other choice. Think about it. If you are depressed you feel bad. If you are lonely you feel bad. If you are sick you feel bad. If you are frustrated you feel bad. If you are calm you feel good. If you are happy you feel good. If you feel love, you feel good. What would you prefer?
OK, so I hear you asking, “How is this MY choice? I can’t control the circumstances of every day that I am involved in”. I believe, at this point in my learning, that we may not think we have control over our day and our situations, but I truly believe we do… In line with this, I also now believe we have control over our REACTIONS to ANY occurrence we become faced with.
Stay with me here, and you’ll see why I’m introducing this exercise. We always say “life is short”, but I, for one, had a hard time trying to grasp that concept. Time is, kind of, not tangible. Each day that passes is a day, but what exactly is a day? I had come up with an idea a few weeks ago that helped me make this tangible. Take a dollar out of your pocket. DO IT – I’m watching you (only kidding). Now, look at the dollar. Think about paying for this very second of your life with that dollar. Now let’s go a little broader. Think of this day which contains 24 hours. There are 86,400 seconds in 24 hours. Now, think of paying $86,400 for living this very day. Did you enjoy spending your “money”? I realize that life is more precious than that one dollar; even $86,400. You can’t get back your seconds. There are no refunds. I will go a little further and introduce the idea that every day we wake into a situation that is negative to how we want to feel (if we choose that we want to feel good), we are wasting “money”. Perhaps that will make the concept that “life is short” more tangible for you… it has for me.
Take a quick inventory of your life… your living situation, the things you complain about, your weight, your job… everything. What makes you feel good? What makes you feel frustrated or bad? What do you complain about? What are your “problems”?
We can complain, blame, or accept responsibility to change. Unless you are 100% happy with the way things are, the awareness that we have a choice is the key and the first step towards daily and constant happiness. Studying quality improvement for many years in my healthcare career, I believe there is always room for improvement in ANY situation.
As of this day, I am far from perfect. My goal is to realize when I start to feel contrary to how I want to feel and to be able to alter my reaction or the situation I am in. Funny as it is, this awareness has become transient. My family now helps me “catch” myself when my reaction is not in line with my goals. My determination to be happy has provided them with more awareness about their own day, as well.
All I want, and strive for, is to have a nice day. We all deserve the same. We all deserve the opportunity to enjoy life.
Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC: Is the author of If I Knew then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.ifiknewthenbook.com).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 Certified Professional Coach, a Certified Life Coach, and a New York State Department of Health Lifestyle 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.
I woke this morning with the word “RESPECT” running through my mind. I realized that getting respect and being respected is a huge priority in my life. I also believe others feel being respected is necessary in theirs. I choose to write this article to provide an opportunity to bring awareness to unconscious actions we may have – to spark a change that will eliminate frustration and create more happiness in our lives and in the lives of others.
Let’s look at some ways we may be disrespected and you can see that I may be on to something here…
Let’s look at our family. Do your family members respect you? Do they arrive on time* to dinner or show up when they promise to be there (or do you wait frustrated for them to show up or call)? Do they jump to conclusions without giving you the benefit of the doubt in a situation? Do they speak with you the way you would like to be spoken to (and vice versa)? Do they leave things on the floor or not clean up after themselves? The clean up part — we can excuse this behavior as “lazy”, but I believe it really is a respect thing, especially if there was communication to explain expectations. Did you ever stop to think WHO has to clean up behind us when we don’t do it ourselves? (This is valid inside and outside of our homes in public places like parks, restaurants, parking lots, public restrooms, etc.).
Let’s look at work. We spend the majority of our day at work. Feeling satisfaction and appreciation are most important in the workplace. These feelings can be synonymous with feelings of respect. Do you feel taken advantage of or not recognized for your knowledge or abilities? I think this is all connected… we are emotional beings, after all. I believe being recognized for your accomplishments and feeling good about being in your workplace are major parts of having job satisfaction. This could also include fair pay for your service. Knowing there may be economic hardships in today’s workplace, I know of situations, and have personally experienced, where staff “goes to bat” and actually takes cuts in pay to keep an organization together. The basis for such an event would have to come from a feeling of respect and satisfaction – or else, truly, they’d “bail out” instead of staying during a turbulent time.
One thing that is, perhaps, my biggest pet peeve is people who don’t return calls or follow-up as they said. This is a huge phenomenon in business – there seems to be a “game” that people play that all parties may not agree to prior to the beginning of a relationship. Any sales person can understand what I’m talking about. Personally, I always go out of my way for others. I drop anything at hand to help out, and I always see the big picture, perhaps sometimes bigger than the person who I’m meeting with can see. There’s so much potential in everything that we do – every project we start, every vision we have, every book we write, every story we share. I see the end, the possibilities, perhaps to a flaw. I see the dreams people have and what they can offer to another, and I want to make their dreams happen.
I can give tons of examples where a person will call in distress. Jim (my husband) and I will usually drop everything to accommodate a meeting, always coming armed with research and suggestions. How many times have you gone on a sales call or attended to a customer or a client, work really hard to accommodate their needs, and they don’t return calls back? They’ve apparently fallen off the face of the earth. My sister, who has been in sales for her whole career, says this is the story of her life. She works really hard for a prospect, gets them all the info they need, and never hears from them again despite fruitless attempts for follow-up.
Or, how about when you go on a date –
Why do we have to “hurry up and wait” and guess what the other person’s thinking or doing. We eventually get the message that they’re not interested in a work or personal relationship; but, OUT OF RESPECT, a quick call or follow-up email should be made. I do my best to do this. I, personally, know how bad one feels waiting for a call that may never come. There are terms to support this, for example, “poker face”, or “games people play”. I just believe, in consideration of the feelings of another, these games are unnecessary and create significant hard feelings and tremendous frustration in the one waiting. Sometimes people are on timetables or have things they need to accomplish and they are really waiting on that phone call or email. I believe respect and consideration for another go a long way.
AND… here’s another one. Did someone say they were going to do something and then not do it? Respect comes into play with this, too. No one likes to wait for something that a person promises that never materializes.
This is something that causes hard feelings and frustration that is super easy to eliminate.
I know that sometimes people may “bite off more than they can chew” and become inundated with responsibilities to a point where they cannot physically accomplish what they said they would do. In that case, just a quick phone call or email to follow up to the other person who is waiting for the “something” would be most welcome. I NEVER promise someone something and do not follow-up. NEVER. That is a super priority of mine; one of integrity and conscious. You need me, I’m there. I’ll go out of my way to support another and their endeavors. Think of yourself, think of your actions, think of the actions of others. If we all consider and respect another, this world would be such a less frustrating place.
I can recall countless situations where I felt I was slighted in my past, and I know I took these actions personally and wound up with terribly hurt feelings. Still, to this day, I wait for people who say they are going to do something and the “something” may not ever materialize. The most important recent growth factor I can acknowledge in myself is that now something may bother me – when it happens – and then I will realize it and, within a few minutes, re-rationalize it and let it go. I work on this every day and am far from perfect. I try not to take things personally and rationalize that it’s not necessarily an intentional situation of disrespect purposefully done TO me, but perhaps unintentional on the behalf of the other party. They may not even realize they did something to hurt my feelings or hold back a project I’m working on.
My goal, every day, is and always has been, to take into consideration how other people feel. To know what my actions will do to them, to realize what I should do or how I should approach something to make someone feel good about themselves. Am I perfect? Absolutely not; but my intentions are true and I do my best to be aware of how my actions affect others.
I believe respect and consideration go a long way to make amazing relationships… personal and business. Acting without respect and consideration causes significant hard feelings and conflict. I believe it may be, truly, one of the largest priorities that should be considered prior to our actions throughout the day. Perhaps we can try to preface our thoughts or actions with questions like, “If I do ________, then _________ will happen”, “If I do ________ then that will make this person will feel like ________”, “If I do __________ that will make someone feel good”, “I will be taking advantage of _________ if I do _________”.
No one likes being taken advantage of or feeling badly. Our actions can easily cause that to happen. If we’re aware of the ramifications of our actions, we can totally change the course of the day, week, or life of another.
*A quick disclaimer to all my family who read this: I’m always running a little late. It’s not a respect thing or done in any way maliciously, but caused by continuously trying to fit 25 hours into a 24 hour day. It’s something I’m aware of and working on, which is a step towards change. Hey – I’ve got lots of things I want to do!
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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of Time to Play: www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a Better Life. It’s Time to Enjoy YOUR Life!
This article was triggered by my frustration trying to help a lovely woman in need and my inability to rally people to help. It breaks my heart how one person can give so much and can wind up so alone, fighting insurmountable obstacles.
With this being Memorial Day, I started thinking broader about the silent plight of so many.
I am a person who looks at an issue and sees the “big picture”, not just what directly affects me. I continuously marvel about how today’s “problems”, in many cases, are not new. Many of these issues are recurring in our society. Time and again I marvel at how history repeats itself – it we let it – which I did go into greater detail in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life” (www.ifiknewthenbook.com).
I continuously assume people will feel the same urgencies I do for certain things and about situations that affect us as a whole. Time and again I wind up frustrated, disappointed or surprised.
With this being Memorial Day, I am reminded of a conversation I had with an elected official. I asked him why we don’t hear daily reports about our military personnel or the plight of our veterans. He told me that, unlike during the world wars when everyone was affected, only 1% of people in our country are currently connected to military personnel or situations.
My family does not have anyone in the military, but I totally believe that we should care about the men and women who are protecting our freedoms, at home and abroad. I believe we should know what they need, how to help, and how to care. Not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but every day.
If you look into history, these situations that currently affect our Veterans are not new. We still hear the term “the forgotten war”, and many talk about our current Veterans fitting into this same category.
Working in quality improvement for many years, I have learned that you cannot ignore issues – things will only continue to get worse. I have learned that it is better to weigh your options and implement the best possible solution when first identifying the problem. This can be applied to anything; for example a hole in a pipe will get larger and larger (it won’t go away), health problems will continue to compound, or a car that is in disrepair will eventually stop working.
I am acutely aware that one person cannot be involved in and deal with everything, but I am also aware that many people might just say, “That’s too bad” and move along in their day. I believe there are so many things that get put on the back burner without getting the proper attention that it should. In the end, issues will just get larger and continue to reappear. Just watch our nightly news and the stories that we hear over and over. We see the same situations, on a daily basis, just reported on with different names and dates.
With this being Memorial Day, please take a moment today to reflect on our Veterans, their dedication and sacrifice. Perhaps do a quick “Google” search to find one of the many organizations working to help our Veterans. Perhaps there is something you can contribute. If each one of us does one little thing to help, we can make things better. That’s the concept behind “people helping people” and Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com).
I’ll even inappropriately venture out on this Memorial Day and ask you to stop a moment to consider the plight of others, those who may not be Veterans.
In reference to my dear friend, she has been going through a horrible health crisis for almost a year. She’s just one of many who are going through a crisis in their lives or the lives of their loved ones. I had believed she had a stronger support group than she actually does have. Maybe I just want to believe that everyone has some type of support group or a person they can count on in their time of need. The more I’ve been working on the Time to Play project, the more I realize that just isn’t so and how many people are out there truly out there on their own.
In this particular case, I’ve been trying to do a fundraiser for her with not great results. Maybe it’s because she is not a young child, maybe people just have too much of their own stuff that they are dealing with. Through working on Time to Play, many have said to me that, unless something directly affects a person, it is hard for them to wrap their minds around the plight of another.
I woke up thinking about celebrations today. I guess it was a result of this past weekend being Mother’s Day. My mother used to frequently say, “Mother’s Day is not just one day, but every day”. True. This is a thought we could actually utilize in so many aspects of our lives.
How many of us celebrate each day? Let’s break that down a little, as I know that’s a bit vague. I started www.TimetoPlay.com to relearn how to live and enjoy life. I have worked in healthcare for 27 years and have seen what I term the “sick and sad”. I have learned after these past years of this endeavor that life is short and meant to be savored.
That’s a hard and vague concept for us, too. It’s hard to grasp a concept of acknowledging each second of our day is precious when so much is thrown at us every day. Job issues, family issues, health issues. It gets truly overwhelming sometimes. We are all human and may get caught up in the emotions and frustrations of our day. My gift from working on www.TimetoPlay.com, becoming a life coach, and meeting people from whom I have learned amazing things has been my ability to recognize when I need to STOP, reevaluate and make a choice on how I react and to move on. It is important to recognize when we are in a situation that is undesirable. I recognize that some things we can do something about, and some things we can’t. BUT, it’s ALWAYS in our power to change our reactions to a situation, to reevaluate, and to make the best choices to move forward. We are NEVER without power. Remember that. Don’t let anyone, especially not your thoughts, steal your power.
Through www.TimetoPlay.com I have realized the importance of stopping what we’re doing or thinking, to be unplugged, to listen to a bird chirping, to talk to our friends and our children. I have recognized the importance of celebrating each day, to see the beauty that we miss when we are part of the hustle and bustle to get things done. Even as I sit here writing this, I have become more aware of my surroundings, listening to the sound of the fish tank and enjoy the shadows the sun is making in my home that I would have missed in months and years past.
Start to celebrate the little things. It will make your heart happy. Try it.
Celebrate yourself… your beauty, your smile, your achievements, your surroundings. Things may not be easy, or things may not be exactly as you want or had envisioned, but celebrate what you are and what you have at this exact moment in your life. You are special the way you are. You are the only one of you.
Celebrate others… I know from experience that we usually wait for milestones to make people feel special for their “special days” during birthdays, on holidays, or during special events. I do my best to compliment people any time I can. Do it and watch people’s reactions. We all work so hard. It’s nice for the sales person to get a, “Wow, you did that checkout so fast, I’m so impressed”, or “What a nice smile”, or “You are so pleasant, I enjoyed shopping here today”. Try it. It not only brings an amazing smile to their face (and a look of shock and awe), but I promise it will bring a smile to your face, too.
Celebrate family… How many times do you say, “I love you” but mean it? How many hugs or kisses do you bestow? How many times do you sit down for a special dinner or a celebration or do something that’s not “required” due to a holiday, birthday or a day like Mother’s Day? How many times do things feel more like work and not something you are doing from your heart?
My babies are 22, 20 and 19 years old. They are not at home very often anymore, and it seems to get harder and harder to even talk to them on a daily basis. I know that I always had made efforts to create special days, projects, “field trips” and events when they were small, but savoring memories is not living. Doing is living, and I strive to make what I can fit into my day as special as possible. Let them know they’re special, not just a “job” or an obligation. See and feel the difference it makes in your heart and in your relationship.
Last but not least, how about our spouses. Appreciation is everything, and, in our day to day, we may take them for granted. It’s so important to acknowledge each other. We are all so busy, but I’m throwing it out there to not just wait for an obligatory reason like a birthday or holiday to celebrate them. Things are different and much faster today than when I was younger, and I know, personally, how we can get so caught up in things that are not important. I’m asking that you take a moment to thank them for just being them, for doing the things that they do, and for being who they are. That’s why we loved them, in the first place, isn’t it?
Love – the word of today. Love life, love each other, love yourself.
Don’t wait to celebrate.
Every day is a reason for celebration.
Celebrate yourself and everyone around you. Feel the feelings you get. Try it. You, and those around you (after they make you go to the doctor to make sure you are ok) might even smile.
My daughter, Jacquelyn, amazes me sometimes. She’s 19 years old and I believe that she is very worldly and insightful. She’s got a lot of common sense and insight. Pretty much, I think she’s taken after her father in this area! (LOL). I learn from all of my children, and learned something very important from her that I’d like to share with you.
As many people may know by now, I am a huge proponent for education. I believe education is power, and do agree with many I have discussed this fact with – education alone is not enough. I believe you need to learn what you need to know so you can enjoy life (what I say all the time about why we provide the resources and articles that we do on www.TimetoPlay.com); AND, you need to take what you’ve learned and take action to make your education work for you.
That being said, Jackie told us the other day that she did not feel she was benefiting from attending college for right now. She said that she wasn’t learning things she enjoyed. She said that she needed to figure out what she wanted to “be” first, before wasting time and money to attend school at this time in her life. She further noted that, between working almost full-time and going to school she had no time to enjoy her life. She said the way she was going, she had no time to learn how to play the ukulele, take photos, exercise, or go to the beach. She just wasn’t enjoying herself and felt exhausted.
Neither her dad nor I became upset. I was actually quite impressed that she was able to realize this and make a decision to take action towards change. I guess she’s been listening to me “preaching” the concept of Time to Play – that you need to learn what you need to enjoy life and that it’s TIME to enjoy life – before it’s too late. Hey, you never know what tomorrow will bring, and my biggest hope is that people will take advantage of every moment so that they will have no regrets.
I, myself, started www.TimetoPlay.com to re-learn what I needed to enjoy life. I had gotten so busy on “the hamster wheel” running here and there, doing “stuff”, working so hard, and (etc.)… that I truly felt I had forgotten how. As I talked to so many other people, they had forgotten how, too, which is why the concept behind this endeavor is so important. I’ve truly set out to help 1 million people realize they need to consider the Time to Play Philosophy (you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to enjoy life) and to provide resources to them so they can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move forward.
I live and breathe the Time to Play Philosophy. Nevertheless, I am only human and, at times, find myself slipping back into old habits of working so hard or for long hours, and becoming tired.
Jackie’s discussion with us really hit home. She’s 1,000% right, and it’s so important – and necessary – to keep reminding ourselves what is important to us, each and every day.
Ask yourself if you are currently happy, healthy, have money to pay your bills without stressing out, and a work life balance. If you are, keep it up, keep growing, and keep moving forward. If you’re not, start learning what you need and start looking for ways to make changes. You don’t have to change everything all at once, but changes can be small and progress towards a goal.
Who said we need to go to college, get a job, work till we are so tired, retire with “a few good years” left to do what we “always dreamed of doing”, and then just die.
I think many of us need to revisit our preconceived vision of a “normal” life that so many of us adopt. I don’t believe taking those once a year vacations are enough. I also hate that so many of us wish our days away waiting for the weekend. I believe that we need to plan something wonderful into each and every day to create relaxation in our lives, to make us smile, to make us feel fulfilled. The adoption of this way of life is not easy. Start by taking a few minutes of each day and do something you enjoy. Work up to making every day count, and then work up to making every second of every day count. After all, every second is actually precious, even though we may forget…
“I’m too busy – I can’t do this now”, I hear you saying.
I ask you – if not now, when? It’s hardest to start to implement changes, but it is rewarding once we do.
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.