Fight for Our Own Empowerment

Empowerment

Empowerment

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.

 

CHOICE

choices in 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.

Love, Doreen

PS:  This is the topic of discuss on our Empower Half Hour Podcast, live on Wednesday, July 16 9:30 am EST or recorded and archived – link / listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/timetoplay/2014/07/16/choice-empower-half-hour-sponsored-by-timetoplaycom 

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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.

Contact her by calling 631-331-2675 or email doreen@timetoplay.com.

RESPECT – We all want it

Respect Time to Play

Respect

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!

Remembering Those in Need

 

Remember

Remember

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. 

Did you know that 22 soldiers a day commit suicide?  http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2013/02/05/22-the-number-of-veterans-who-now-commit-suicide-every-day  Did you know that many Veterans are homeless? There are many articles that gave a statistics that approximately 58,000 veterans were homeless in the year 2013.  It is so hard for me to believe that someone could fight for our freedoms and end up in this manner. Through my work experience in healthcare I have learned that many don’t know where to get help or the resources available.

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 will never be able to accept that. 

We all need to care. 

People Helping People.  Collaboration = Success.

Celebrate Today – Don’t Wait

celebrateI 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.

Who said? It’s Time to Enjoy Life. It’s Time to Play.

Time to PlayMy 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.

Wow.

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. 

WHO SAID???

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.

It’s time to Enjoy YOUR life.  It’s Time to Play.

Time for Maintenance?

 

Car maintenance

With maintenance

I woke up thinking about my daughter’s boyfriend and his car.  There seem to be a bunch of things wrong with it, all at the same time, which we expect will cost a lot of money to fix.  Last night he was sitting at our kitchen table, dismayed. 

Of course there is never a budget to use for this type of purpose – when something unexpectedly breaks.  In this case, we all understand how hard our lives are without transportation, and, I’m sure we all have been in this same type of situation.  I, personally, don’t know anything about cars and maintenance.  The only thing I know about a car is that you put the key in to turn it on to make it go.  One day, maybe, I’ll tell you how I added oil through the little dip stick thing when I knew it needed some.  When I was around 19 years old, because of lack of my preventative maintenance, I had to replace a transmission at a most inopportune time in my life.  Of course it was also at a time when I had no money to pay for it.

That started me thinking about how we ignore things like that “engine knock” until we can’t ignore it anymore.  I’m not just speaking about ignoring maintenance that our car or home may require, but “maintenance” for our own bodies, our minds, and more.

There’s a saying by an unknown author, “Pay now or pay later. But pay you will”.  This can be associated with every part of our lives if you think about it.  If we ignore our health, we will pay for it sometime in the future.  If we ignore our relationships, our jobs, our clients, our kids, our faith, our …. well, pretty much everything…. we might just wind up paying for it in a way that will be displeasing to us down the line. 

If I’m not being clear enough, I’ll define what I’m trying to explain a little further.  If we ignore the things in our lives like our health, jobs, or loved ones, we might wind up with a negative outcome that we certainly may not want: we may become sick, we might lose our job, or we might have a displeasing relationship.  If we choose to ignore our negative thinking or something internally bothering us, that might, too, affect every area of our day including our health and performance. 

Think about it.  The concept of not devoting time for maintenance to things that we should attend to, both internally and externally that affects our lives, can lead to unfavorable outcomes. 

This proactive-type of thinking ties into the Time to Play Philosophy: you need to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  If you really think about it, this concept is very valid.  But, many times we ignore things because we don’t have time to address them, or we ignore things because we just don’t want to deal with something.  In my observations and my own experience, if you ignore something long enough, it will eventually come back to “bite you”.

What to do?  Take an evaluation of your health, happiness, financial situation and work life balance.  Those things you have pushed aside for way too long.  Make a list of priorities of where you can BEGIN to address these things.  Need to lose weight?  Need to look for a new job?  Need to start that retirement or college savings account?  Need to find a way to better organize or delegate at work so you can enjoy more freedom and flexibility? 

Yes, looking proactively at your life situations instead of the easy way out (for now) of ignoring things may seem overwhelming.  The “for now” in that sentence re-emphasizes that ignoring is easy – for now – but may not provide you with an easy end.  My philosophy is to learn what you need to know to enjoy life.  That’s why I started Time to Play.  So I could regain control over things that would enable me to better enjoy MY life. 

Look at your list.  What can you do to make one small change… just one baby step… to start to do that “maintenance”?  I believe that one small change is better than no change at all.  And, you may be surprised to find that once you start to make little changes, your life may become more pleasant and settled.

Time for maintenance?  Take a look.  It’s definitely easier to “pay” now with a little prevention than to “pay” later with negative health, marriage, job loss, or worse.

If you need a jump start, we have all sorts of coaches to help you in your journey to make changes or improvements.  Just give us a call at 631-331-2675 or email: info@timetoplay.com

It’s time to enjoy YOUR life!  It’s Time to Play!  www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a better life.  

GOT PLANS?

 

Hourglass

An_Hourglass____by_MPtribe 

Every day I’m reminded how short life is and how we have to take advantage of every moment we have.  This article is not intended to be morbid in any way, but, perhaps, a “wake up” call. 

I know the concept of life is short is a hard one to grasp.  I know, for myself, that we believe we are immortal, that we have endless time and endless possibilities.  But, alas, that is not fact.  There is inevitability in every person, animal, plant, and thing on this Earth.  Everything has a life cycle.  Sure, we may know the average life cycles for each species, but there are no guarantees for anything that exists. 

“Wow, Doreen… what a way to ruin a party!”  I hope you will continue reading, as I can hear you thinking this right about now.  But, let’s put things into perspective.

Over these last few weeks I have had so many “messages” and realized I needed to pay more attention to the day-to-day and make sure that what I am doing is not wasting my own precious time.  One lovely friend had a fire at her business that caused significant changes to her long term plans.  One gentleman I know lost his job of 9 years.  Another wonderful person I know suddenly experienced a life-altering illness.  These are examples of life events that we have no control over but tremendously change our plans from what we expect to “do tomorrow”.  In an unexpected, life-altering situation we have two choices.  We can either allow the event to cause a downward spiral and spark self-destructive behavior, or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and adopt a mindset that the event that occurred was a blessing in disguise. 

What would / do you do?  Would you become stagnant and wallow in despair, or would you create a plan and evaluate options for what you can do to move forward? 

Neither choice is easy.  Events that are not planned are extremely stressful for everyone involved, and many times our decisions on what to do involve many others including our family.  I, for one, know firsthand what it is like to lose a job at a most inopportune time.  I acknowledge that a first impulse may be to scramble in a “survival of the fittest” response.  However, after many years, and a ton of self-help books and research, I realize that if you look at an occurrence as an opportunity to move forward and make your life even better, you have an opportunity to get further, faster.  Most things that happen that we consider a “negative” occurrence can be turned around if we take a moment to stop and reevaluate things.

OK… now for an even more serious discussion.  In the past few weeks I have been informed of three deaths of people who I knew and one I did not know.  One lovely woman was preparing to retire and travel.  She was 61.  One was a person we worked with for a short period of time; he was in his late 40’s.  One was a volunteer firefighter in his early 30’s, and one was a friend’s childhood friend in his 40’s, as well.  With today’s average life expectancy, we could say that these people passed way too early; however, as we know, death does not discriminate. You can be one hour old, one day old, or 100+ years old.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), none of us is stamped with an expiration date. 

Why am I discussing this?  It is my intention to create a spark in each of us.  What are you doing in your life right now that does not make you happy?  What do you dread doing?  What can you do to make a change?

By now I hope you got what I’m trying to convey – the discussion that life is short.  But, just in case, I’ve taken the liberty to go a little further in my explanation.

I came up with an analogy knowing that, sometimes, people understand things that are more visual.  Take a $1 bill out of your pocket or wallet.  I know you feel silly, but please do it….

Most of us value every dollar we have and the possibilities of what we can use that money for, don’t we?  In this example, the $1 you are holding will signify this very second of your life.  To further explain, for our purposes, you just (symbolically) paid $1 for this very second and for each and every second thereafter as long as you are alive.  Oh, one more thing… there is NO return policy.  You can’t get a refund or a do-over.

Take another look at the dollar.  Was it worth it?  Did you find value?  Did you CHOOSE to be doing what you want to be doing in that 1 second time period?  Of course, in this case, you found great worth because you are reading this eloquently written, amazingly informative article! 

Seriously, though, I want you to take a few moments to reflect on your days, in general. 

Look at that $1 bill.  Are your precious seconds worth what you are paying for them… every second of your day? 

Let’s still go a little further.  If you are pleased with the majority of your day, then that is excellent.  Keep on spending those dollars the way you are.  However, if you find you are spending them being sad or being angry, or if you spend them in a job you hate, or if you spend them in a relationship that is abusive or not progressing, I want you to ask yourself if you are spending your dollars (seconds of life) the way you should.  Are you spending your dollar being fearful, resentful, or unforgiving?  Are you healthy and able to physically do all you would like to?  Or, even further… perhaps you are experiencing depression or using alcohol or substances to dull your pain.  In some of these instances it may be necessary, if you have not yet done so, to look into counseling to help you alleviate your negative feelings.  Perhaps you can begin to make a change towards moving forward. 

Life is short. How do you want to spend your dollar?

A quick disclaimer:  I am a very practical person.  I know we may set ourselves up for disappointment if we believe EVERY second is going to make us overwhelmingly happy.  We are emotional beings and I don’t want to apply extra pressure to any one of us.  However, I do request that you consider the example as a motivation to evaluate your life and determine if a change is necessary so you can create the best life possible. 

Got Plans?  We all do.  But we need to also determine what will make our current situation and current day the best that it can be.  Maybe it’s time to ask yourself:  Isn’t it time to enjoy YOUR life?  Isn’t it “Time to Play”?

 

JOIN US!  Did you know we do a weekly FREE podcast called Empower Half Hour?  Click here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/timetoplay for further information and our weekly schedule.  It is recorded live on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 10 am EST (and available to listen any time after if you can’t join in at that time of the day).  As of 3/31/2014 we will be moving the podcast to 5 pm on Mondays with a one hour group life coaching session afterward (you can also participate via telephone or skype).  See www.clubtimetoplay.com for more information about the group coaching sessions or contact me at 631-331-2675 or email me at doreen@timetoplay.com for more information. 

P.S.:  A cheap “plug”:  Our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life”, is full of powerful stories of obstacles and life situations we have experienced but have overcome.  The book is intended to help a reader learn from our experiences.  More information and reviews:  www.IfIKnewThenBook.com

Terminal C – Lessons Learned for Happiness and My Behavior

turn your frown upside down

turn your frown upside down

I’ve learned a lot since starting the Time to Play, my “reminder to enjoy life” project.  Here’s a quick story about an experience I encountered just this past Wednesday, February 19, 2014. 

After the fact, it “hit me” that my behavior in the face of a trying situation was pleasing, and I realized I was truly proud of how I handled my response.  I realized my reaction was quite different than it would have been just a few months or years ago.  I’m sharing my story with the hopes that my experience will help another person avoid having hard feelings.

I was in South Carolina to present a talk entitled, “The Ability to Play is Not Just Physical”, at the US Play Coalition’s National Conference the week of 2/17/2014.  I believe everyone in the Northeast has experienced crazy weather lately.  My airplane was a little delayed on the way down to South Carolina.  The delay was not so bad, though, as it was a direct flight, and we even landed pretty much on time.

The way back was a little different.  We were over a half hour late taking off.  That would have been fine, but I had a connecting flight in Washington Dulles Airport back to New York’s JFK airport.  I was never at the airport in Washington before, and had traveled alone to attend the conference.  It’s definitely easier to figure things out when you have a companion, but here I was, on my own.

Before we landed I asked the stewardess if she knew what gate I needed to go to for my connecting flight back to New York.  I knew that, with the delay, there would only be minutes between when we landed and when my connecting flight would be taking off.  She said she did not know, but expected the gates would be close together and that I shouldn’t have a problem making my flight.

Well…. the gates were not close by to each other.  Not even a little bit.  My flight landed at the absolute furthest point of Terminal A.  I got out of one of the smallest planes I ever saw (it was a commuter plane, I was told) and went into the hallway of the terminal to search for a flight directory.  I soon found that I had to be at Gate 28 in Terminal C! 

I started following the signs to Terminal C.  I walked and walked… quickly, I might add.  The time was ticking.

I went down a huge escalator and found a “travel adviser” at the bottom.  He was standing in front of a huge directory board.  After waiting much too long for a woman who got to him before me ask where the rental cars could be found, I asked him how to get to Terminal C.  He told me to take the “SUBWAY” to terminal C, and it should take about 7 minutes for me to get there.

“SUBWAY?” I exclaimed!  Oh, my goodness, the time was ticking!  So I started running down the hallway to find the subway.

At that point I could have started to get frustrated, grouchy, upset and angry.

BUT, I didn’t.  I actually started running down the hallways and people movers and escalators I had to travel on making jokes to people I passed along the way.  I even made a few comments about how impressed I was about the person / people who designed this massive underground network connecting the airport, and how amazed I was at how huge it was.

My only moment of panic was when I was on the subway between the terminals and the train’s computer voice said, “This train is now out of service”.  Not that I minded if it was in or out of service, but I just had no desire to be stuck inside an out of service train.  Once the train doors opened to let us out, I was fine.

I credit the education I have learned from what I’ve learned through my Life Coach training and what I’ve learned on Time to Play from my fellow Time to Play professionals, especially Rebecca L. Norrington.  Rebecca speaks of internal peace, the universe, spirit and freedom, and I’ve learned a lot from her. 

I realize it is up to us how we are going to react to situations.  We can allow situations that occur in our day to rob us of our happiness.

I learned it is up to us how we are going to react to others, to how they speak to us, or to things they do “to” us.  We can let people rob us of our happiness, our feelings, our confidence, and/or our self-esteem.  We can allow our reactions to affect our day, week, or even longer. 

OR, I have learned, we can CHOOSE to react in a manner that enables us to shine.   Sometimes we have to take a moment to STOP and to reevaluate a situation that may be escalating around us.  But, truly, I have found that it is worth it to do so.

I made it to Gate 28 in Terminal C and had a great flight back.  I wound up talking to a wonderful woman who was sitting next to me.  I was in a great mood and enjoyed the experience, and after I landed met my wonderful husband at the airport who had come to pick me up.

After the fact, I realized I was proud of my behavior.  I am very proud of how I’ve grown, due to what I’ve learned through Time to Play.  I am proud of having created a place where people can learn what they need to know so they can enjoy life.  That is the ultimate goal of www.TimetoPlay.com.

If you have gotten to this point in my story, I thank you for taking your time to read this.  If you have a story to share where you are proud of how you handled a situation, please contact me.  Sometimes examples of situations we encounter can help another learn how to not “let them in”!

We can’t control others, but I now know that it is truly up to us to control how we will behave.

With many blessings for great happiness and peace,

Doreen 

Customer service is something we do every day of our lives – at work and AT HOME.

 

Reputation photo from smallbiztechnology.com

Reputation

Every one of us works in customer service, no matter what our job.  And, customer service is not only something we do as part of a work situation, but customer service is also something we do as part of our friendships and family relationships.

As part of providing good customer service, our actions and interactions are so important. 

OK… stay with me here.  What we do and what we say can easily be misunderstood, cause hard feelings, or ruin reputations.

Let’s go back to associating this in the way we act or do ANYTHING — at work and at home.  Those of us who have children, those of us who are married, those of us who have any family members or friends at all (that’s pretty much everyone alive) can say something that is not interpreted the way we intend and start a snowball of negative feelings.  We really have to be so careful what we say and do.  Not to say we should be on guard for everything, but we really do need to consider what the affect of our actions or statements could be.

As far as at work, each of us provides customer service not only to ourselves but to the others who work with us.  Things happen so fast, and, sometimes, we can destroy a client relationship or a co-worker relationship with just one action or statement.

Many of us run on impulses.  I did this the other day myself!  I called to check in on a client and they started going on about a dissatisfaction that had nothing to do with myself or my own actions… but the response I made caused a defensive / angry reaction in them.  With the fact that they were displeased and I was trying to “help” sort out their issue, they misconstrued what I was trying to convey.  Luckily I was able to explain, and they “got it” and all is good; but we don’t always have that opportunity.  Sometimes a relationship could be severed with no opportunity to repair it.

Reputations are on the line every moment of every day and with every interaction — at work and at home.

A positive reputation is priceless. 

In my 48 years alive I’ve seen it again and again.  You can do years and years of good work and good efforts, and it’s over in a second.  There’s always a story in the paper about a fall from grace.

My intention with this article is to put out there that, instead of “jumping the gun” when making a statement or performing an action, it may sometimes be worth taking a breath before answering or acting.  Think first, act or talk second.

I believe it’s better to PREVENT a negative situation from occurring in the first place instead of having to try to patch it up or repair a damaged reputation or relationship.

Any thoughts, tips or words of wisdom are welcome!  Contact me with a comment or email doreen@timetoplay.com.  

Doreen Guma
Doreen Guma

MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC - Author, Healthcare Administrator, Certified Professional Coach, Certified Life Coach

Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC 

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. 

Contact: 631-331-2675
www.TimetoPlay.com
www.djamesmarketing.com 

Email: doreen@djamesmarketing.com 

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