Tag Archives: Leadership

It’s no Fairytale: Have Courage and Be Kind

Have Courage and Be Kind-10

Did you happen to see the latest rendition of Cinderella starring Lilly James?  If not, I highly recommend it.  I know it’s just a fairytale, but the messages it shares is golden.   I must warn you – it’s not a musical so don’t expect the mice to break out in song.

Cinderella’s beloved mother suddenly takes ill and in her final moments with her daughter she utters the simple formula for happiness, “Be kind and have courage and all will be well.”  Up to that point, being kind was second nature to Cinderella – it was a gift she inherited  from her mother.  But  to be kind to people who were intentionally cruel would take courage and soon be put to the test.

You know the story – she endured. She turned the other cheek. She went to the Ball. The clock struck twelve.

And…

With ash smeared face, straggly hair and raggedy dress, Cinderella gathered courage as she approached the prince to try on that legendary glass slipper. The narrator, her fairy godmother turns to the audience and asks, “Would who she is really be enough?”  She had no magic to help her this time – she was on her own to shine.  It was perhaps the greatest risk of all. “To be seen as you truly are.

Aren’t we all covered in ash?  Don’t we all struggle with varying levels of doubts, insecurities and self worth?  Do we question if we are good enough?  Do we have the courage to take the risk of showing who we truly are?  Do we acknowledge our infinite worth with gifts and talents that make us unique and genuine?

Recently a friend posted a photo of herself on Facebook, with permission I share; “This may seem like your ordinary gym mirror selfie. But to me it marks Day 1 of facing my fears. The gym. For me the gym is a scary place where I’m judged and embarrassed. But more than that, it’s a place that triggers me. It triggers what I’ve been suffering for years …..an eating disorder.

Going to the gym defeats me thinking I’m not getting where I want fast enough. It makes me think I’m not good enough. I hate seeing my reflection, or the body types I wish I was. But today is a fresh start. …..Today is Day 1 of learning to love myself.”

I am proud of my friend for her courage to be real and vulnerable.

Do we believe that if others knew our worst actions, our ugliest thoughts, our embarrassing secrets, and our weird habits that no one will like us?

Look in the mirror and repeat after me;

“You are more important than your mistakes – you are worthwhile, valuable, and useful.”

Thomas S. Monson spoke on having courage in the April 2014 LDS general conference,  “Courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”

The following April in 2015, Dieter F. Uchtdorf  spoke On Being Genuine.  “…If Jesus Christ were to sit down with us and ask for an accounting of our stewardship, I am not sure He would focus much on programs and statistics.  What the Savior would want to know is the condition of our heart.  He would want to know how we love and minister to those in our care, how we show our love to our spouse and family, and how we lighten their daily load.  And the Savior would want to know how you and I grow closer to Him and to our Heavenly Father.”

prince-putting-on-glass-slipper

Beneath the smudges of ash, beyond the raggedy clothes – the glass slipper fits – because YOU are enough.

 

5 Sure Ways to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

The tears surfaced and rolled down my cheeks as I observed poverty far greater than I thought humanly possible. As I walked the very streets that Mother Theresa walked in Kolkata, India, I noticed something peculiar as I looked beyond the trash, makeshift shanties and barefoot children. I saw smiles and heard laughter!

How could this be possible?  Didn’t they know what they were missing, lacking and deprived of?   Though their circumstantial challenges seemed great, they were happy – focused on what they DO have, not what they don’t.  Right before my eyes, I was witnessing what choosing to be happy looked like.

Be HaPpY

Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl,  and author of Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Game changer.

I went to India to inspire, teach and change the world, but instead it was ME that was inspired, taught and changed.  Forever.  

I realized that if  I desired to live a JOY filled life it was up to ME – it was a choice. My choice.

“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer

I have never been a materialistic person, well at least I thought I wasn’t.  Money didn’t grow on trees at my house, but I never felt I lacked any of the essentials.  There were days I stood in my closet staring at a long rack of clothes uttering “I don’t have a thing to wear.” Pathetic.  And there were days I opened the refrigerator, you know the big ice box that keeps food from spoiling for days and sometimes weeks on end, and while staring at shelves filled with food I mumble, “We don’t have a thing to eat – let’s go out.” Embarrassing. 

On the streets of Kolkata, I  made a conscious decision to be HaPpY. Yes, it’s no secret that life’s a rollercoaster filled with twists, turns and loop-de-loops.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who is challenge and trial free. And I would never pray to have less trials or to have my challenges removed – I feel that’s all part of the journey.

If Viktor Frankl is correct, and the only thing I am really in control of is my ability to choose my ATTITUDE then  I’m choosing to enJOY the journey every step of the way. It’s a choice.

I’ve discovered in my almost 52 years of life there are 5 sure ways to ensure HaPpY-ness.

1. Be Grateful.  Appreciate the little things.  Keep a gratitude journal at the side of your bed.  And at the end of each day write ONE thing that you are grateful for and FIVE reasons why.  This exercises creates a mind shift, training our brain to scan for happiness.  Being grateful adds beauty to life.

2.  Be Others Focused.  When you look for opportunities to serve expecting nothing in return, a beautiful thing happens; you forget about your worries and woes, endorphins are released, thus creating a shift in your mood. Being others focused brings joy to life.

3.  Be Creative – step outside the box.  Being creative adds pleasure to life – it puts the FUN in life and relationships. I love the dad who cut his jeans into short shorts to show his daughter that short shorts aren’t that cute – he demonstrated creative parenting.  I love him not just because he is my husband (smiley face), but because he looks for opportunities to lighten up tough or difficult situations.  That doesn’t mean to not take life serious, it just means to DO something each day that makes you and others smile.

“Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

4.  Be YOU

 Family Fun 3

Everyone is an unrepeatable miracle.  Share your gifts and talents to lift and serve others.  Being YOU adds VALUE to life.

5.  Be Forgiving.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.  This is not always easy and it does not mean you are condoning whoever hurt you, it means you are CHOOSING to move forward, and a better person for it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~Louis B. Smedes

As I incorporate these five actions, a paradigm shift happens, just as it did when I was in India.  I begin to automatically scan the world looking for good and to see the positive in people, situations and circumstances.  Beautiful.

Life’s Short Lesson: CHOOSE to be HaPpY.

Highlights of my trip to India.

Why We DO What We Do

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Why we Do what we DO…

When Scott Mackintosh wore the shorty-shorts we were inundated with interviews, phone calls and emails, the message that stood out and drove us to SPEAK were the many that said,

“I wish someone cared that much about me to do something like that.”

THAT tugged at our hearts and spurred us to talk about issues surrounding self-esteem, self-worth and the confidence to dance the dance, even when others say you can’t.

Scott and I have had many cool, inspiring and motivating experiences in our life, along with lots of hard lessons learned. THIS equipped us with many true life stories that EMPOWER others, Build CONFIDENCE and MOTIVATES real change. It’s rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up when they are able to see themselves as God sees them.

When our son told us he was gay and two years later we decided to go public, the response was mind-bogling, again inundated with hundreds of emails opened our eyes to the GREAT need for us to continue to be open, honest and REAL about our experience and lessons learned. Not everyone wants to be an open book, but everyone I meet desires to feel loved, respected, accepted and valued for who they are and the diversity they bring. We choose to be their voice.

Therefore…

using humor, courage and a whole lot of LOVE, we SPEAK from our heart in an effort to motivate YOU to put the FUN back in LIFE and Relationships.

AND

THAT is why we DO what we DO.  

 

P.S.  To see where we speak NEXT, follow us on Facebook or visit us at LifesShortLessons.com