Get A Life

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Get a Life!

Posted: 23 Mar 2013 06:21 AM PDT

I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple:  get a life.  A real life, not the manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.  Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines.  Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

Turn off your cell phone.  Turn off your regular phone, for that matter.  Keep still.  Be present.

Get a life in which you are not alone.  Find people you love, and who love you.  And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.  Each time I look at my diploma, I remember that I am still a student, still learning every day to be human.  Send an e-mail.  Write a letter.  Kiss your mom.  Hug your dad.

Get a life in which you are generous.  Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night.  And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.

Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.  Take the money that you would have spent on beers in a bar and give it to charity.  Work in a soup kitchen.  Tutor a seventh-grader.

All of us want to do well.  But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.

Life is short.  Remember that, too.

I’ve always known this.  Or almost always.  I’ve been living with mortality for decades, since my mother died of ovarian cancer when she was forty and I was nineteen.  And this is what I learned from that experience:  that knowledge of our own mortality is that greatest gift God ever gives us.

It is so easy to waste our lives:  our days, our hours, our minutes.  It is so easy to take for granted the pale new growth on an evergreen, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again.  It is so easy to exist instead of live.
By Anna Quindlen.

Positive Thoughts


I stopped to fuel up our family mini van and this smiling young gas station attendant came bouncing out of the station to help me. He had this incredible enthusiasm and love for his job. He waved and gave a big, “Hello” to my smiling children, Jayda and John, as he cleaned the windows. I was blown away by his wonderful attitude.

I told him (as I always do with great service) what a wonderful job he was doing and how much I appreciated him being so positive. I am always intrigued by people who make a decision to be happy even in a job that some may not think is very “90%”. I asked him what his secret to having such a great attitude was?  He said, “ I have just moved to your country and to your beautiful city. I feel so blessed to have this job, I am so thankful.

I totally agreed with him and welcomed him to our country. I also told him to keep up his great attitude; he is making a positive impact on others. I drove home that day feeling extra thankful of this great country that we get to live in.

Drive by Traffic

I have a friend who opened a business in an area that was promised to have a lot of development some day. I was excited for him; I attended his grand opening and watched his new business launch. About six months later on a visit to his city I dropped by to see him and see how business was doing. I drove through the – still to be developed area – I parked in the almost empty parking lot and walked into his empty business. He spent the entire time complaining to me about how poor business was and how this new development was slow in starting and there was no “drive by traffic” going by his building yet. If only the drive by traffic would start, he said, then we would be busy and everything would be okay.

I visit again. I drove by dozens of new businesses and homes and a new maze of roads. The parking lot was full, his business was full of customers and I had to wait in a long line. I stood in that line thinking about how grateful my friend must be. He put his life and his financial security on the line for his business and now he was cashing in.

I said “Congratulations – business is booming – thank goodness for “drive by traffic” hey?” He spent the entire time complaining to me ABOUT the traffic! I said, “Do you remember almost two years ago when I visited your empty store?” He sat back and a smile started to appear on his overwhelmed face. He said, “You know, you’re right. It has been so busy lately that I forgot about how slow it used to be and how I would have wished for this problem.”

Drive By Traffic - Business is Good

Drive By Traffic – Business is Good

You are so annoying!

I am concerned about society’s view on being positive. When I work in an organization and I find out that they have a super star employee who comes to work with a great attitude, I always try to find that person when I get there. They are never hard to find, they “exude” it! They have a smile on their face and an excitement for their job.

What concerns me is that when that person is singled out I hear things from the other “not so happy” employees like:
“I hate working with her, she is just too happy”

“It is so annoying even in the busiest months, she still has a smile on her face!”

“She’s so happy I could slap her.”

Always so happy it is annoying

Always so happy it is annoying

You know what I always say back to people? “Who would you rather work with? Her? Or someone who drags themselves to work everyday?”

Funny, hey? We define happy people as annoying. Being positive is a lot of work. Trust me I know. It is much easier to be negative. We really need to look at why we think positive people are annoying. What’s wrong with Pollyanna?

I have a great quote from a client that says.

“A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems but it may annoy enough people along the way to make the effort worthwhile.”

On fire!

I was delivering a presentation to a Health related group and one of the audience members shared this story with us all.

I was telling you about how I felt that some young nurses lack passion for their work. There was a young student who was assigned to be with me in my work as Palliative Care nurse coordinator for a couple of days. She seemed to me as we talked to only be in nursing because it was “a job”, somewhat better paying than some others. At the end of our time together, she said something like “I don’t know how you do your job…you must burn out. I know I’d burn out right away”

Find your passion - burn out

Find your passion – burn out

My response to her was, “You have to be set on fire before you can burn out!” I went on to encourage her to get some passion for her work or she may not be able to function as a nurse at all, especially not if she were to ever be interested in working with those living with a terminal illness.

How are you? Why? Do you really care?

I am worried about asking the question, “How are you?” It seems to be such an overused question when I don’t think the people asking really listen to what your response is.

When I speak on the topic of customer service, people share that a really great service provider is someone who is “genuine”. When I work with staff groups and I ask them what makes a great manager they say, ”Someone who cares about us”. When I speak on relationship building, one of the greatest gifts families can give each other is the gift of listening.

Do you really care

Do you really care

I have a client, Mike, who is a really funny guy and a very successful entrepreneur. Something that has always bothered Mike is the lack of “genuineness” in people. We have worked successfully with his staff and managers for years helping to build great service providers and better attitudes within his team.

We will often meet over breakfast to discuss our next training day together and he has a great “genuine experiment” he likes to conduct with the serving staff of the restaurant to test how much they really care.

When the service provider arrives at the table, they look at Mike and ask him, “How are you?” He responds with, “Merry Christmas” – instead of a normal response. No matter what time of year it is!

Now you would think that goofy response would be met with a laugh or some surprise. I have met with Mike on many occasions and you wouldn’t believe how many serving staff will respond to Mike’s, “Merry Christmas” with a “Good, and would you like some coffee?”

It always makes me laugh because it sure does show how many people really do not listen to what your response is when they ask, “How are you?”

A Reader’s Digest quote said, “A good conversationalist is someone who spends 90% of their time listening”. Enough said. Oh and Mike….. “Merry Christmas”!

Like what you do.

Our boy John loves clothing from the company “Life is Good.” Not only does he like the clothes but he loves what the company stands for and how the brothers of Life is Good donate 10% of sales to those in need.  My 10 year old  boy likes to make choices that are good for our world.

We love the saying in all Life is Good clothing, “Do what you like, like what you do”.

He and I have had many talks about how important it is to do something that you like for a living. Choose a job that you like doing all day.

Like what you do

Like what you do