Friday, February 26, 2010

True Wealth

Earlier this Spring I went to a very inspiring program that the elementary school did for their janitor. Mr. Harvey had been at the elementary school since 1997. At 76 years old, he retired earlier this year. The kids (and staff and parents) miss him terribly.

I can't imagine that an elementary school janitor makes very much money. I don't know if Mr. Harvey had a different career, and then became a school janitor to supplement his retirement money, but here is what I know about Mr. Harvey:

Every day I saw him at the school he really seemed to want to be there. He was always happy and definitely loved his job.

The kids loved him! They were all so sad that he retired. They all wrote him notes and delivered them to him. In addition to those notes, my Kindergarten daughter informed me that during "free choice," everyone in her Kindergarten class made things for Mr. Harvey.

He loves the children. There isn't a child in that elementary school who didn't know Mr. Harvey.

He had an amazing singing voice. You could often hear him in the morning singing as he set up the tables in the cafeteria. He would also sing at school functions.

He worked hard. More than once I had to track him down and ask him to help me with something at the last minute. He never complained. He was always happy to help out!

When Mr. Harvey entered the cafeteria for his special retirement program, everyone spontaneously gave him a standing ovation. He was a great man who worked hard and loved what he did. And he was happy.

I came home that day and found some wealth tips in my inbox. As I listened to them I couldn't help but think that Mr. Harvey gave me my best wealth tip of the day. Do what you love and love what you do. Spend every day being as happy and helpful as you can. Brighten up another's day. Treat everyone with respect. Work hard. Never hesitate to help another human being - don't complain about it either because one of our greatest privileges in life is being able to serve others.

I feel wealthier already! Do you know someone like Mr. Harvey -- someone who may not make a whole lot of money, but really seems to prove that you don't have to have money to be wealthy?  Please comment below and share the story of the "wealthy" person you know!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The End From the Beginning...

Here is another story told by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an LDS church leader (from April 2006 conference). The talk is called "See the End from the Beginning," and I have been thinking about this story a lot lately. Some of our goals may be taking a bit longer than we would like, but we don't know what unknown "dis-eases" are being healed as we work toward our goal. This story inspired me to be grateful for the challenges that come with my goals because they are making me stronger!

"Allow me to share with you an experience from my own boyhood. When I was 11 years old, my family had to leave East Germany and begin a new life in West Germany overnight. Until my father could get back into his original profession as a government employee, my parents operated a small laundry business in our little town. I became the laundry delivery boy. To be able to do that effectively, I needed a bicycle to pull the heavy laundry cart. I had always dreamed of owning a nice, sleek, shiny, sporty red bicycle. But there had never been enough money to fulfill this dream. What I got instead was a heavy, ugly, black, sturdy workhorse of a bicycle. I delivered laundry on that bike before and after school for quite a few years. Most of the time, I was not overly excited about the bike, the cart, or my job. Sometimes the cart seemed so heavy and the work so tiring that I thought my lungs would burst, and I often had to stop to catch my breath. Nevertheless, I did my part because I knew we desperately needed the income as a family, and it was my way to contribute.

"If I had only known back then what I learned many years later—if I had only been able to see the end from the beginning—I would have had a better appreciation of these experiences, and it would have made my job so much easier.

"Many years later, when I was about to be drafted into the military, I decided to volunteer instead and join the Air Force to become a pilot. I loved flying and thought being a pilot would be my thing.

"To be accepted for the program I had to pass a number of tests, including a strict physical exam. The doctors were slightly concerned by the results and did some additional medical tests. Then they announced, “You have scars on your lung which are an indication of a lung disease in your early teenage years, but obviously you are fine now.” The doctors wondered what kind of treatment I had gone through to heal the disease. Until the day of that examination I had never known that I had any kind of lung disease. Then it became clear to me that my regular exercise in fresh air as a laundry boy had been a key factor in my healing from this illness. Without the extra effort of pedaling that heavy bicycle day in and day out, pulling the laundry cart up and down the streets of our town, I might never have become a jet fighter pilot and later a 747 airline captain.

"We don’t always know the details of our future. We do not know what lies ahead. We live in a time of uncertainty. We are surrounded by challenges on all sides. Occasionally discouragement may sneak into our day; frustration may invite itself into our thinking; doubt might enter about the value of our work. In these dark moments Satan whispers in our ears that we will never be able to succeed, that the price isn’t worth the effort, and that our small part will never make a difference. He, the father of all lies, will try to prevent us from seeing the end from the beginning."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do You Want to Be Right... or Happy?

I believe this is one of those verses that is passed by word of mouth and doesn't have a credited author:

Here lies the body of William Jay -
He died defending his right of way.
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he is just as dead as if he'd been wrong.

This reminded me of the saying, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" So many times we waste time and energy defending a belief or a position that isn't even serving our highest good.

Truth and belief are not the same things. Truth stands on it's own and doesn't need defending. If billions of people in the world believe a lie, it doesn't change the reality of the truth.  For example, for hundreds of years people believed the world was flat -- but that never changed the reality that the world was round.

Beliefs, on the other hand, are the sum total of the thoughts we choose to think. We function in accordance with our beliefs, but our beliefs do not define us. Because our thoughts are not always accurate, then it is reasonable to believe that our beliefs will not always be accurate.

I thought this verse put it into perspective in a great way, and I wanted to share it with you!

Friday, February 19, 2010

From Overwhelmed to Overflowing...

When I coach with clients and talk with other women, I find a lot of people who genuinely want to serve and help other people, but feel too overwhelmed to do it!  We live in a culture where we are way too busy!

One truth that has been playing over and over in my head this past week is that you can't give from an empty cup! There is a reason why the airlines instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting a child to put theirs on.

About 6 months ago, I finally put into action something that I have thought was a good idea for several years -- a Power Hour! The first hour of my day I spend feeding myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally & physically. That not only fills my cup, but it fills it to overflowing! From on overflowing cup, it is easy to serve others because you have so much more to give!

Picture you have a cup with a few drops of water in it.  Somebody asks for a drink from your cup.  How do you feel?  Resentful?  Worried?  Fearful?  What if they drink all my water, how will I ever get more water?

Now picture a glass overflowing with water, and the same person asks you for a drink from your cup.  You are more than willing to share!!!  You have so much to give that you know your supply will never run out!  It's a completely different feeling.

I am always amazed at how simple real solutions are! Fill yourself to overflowing -- then go serve others!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Declaration of Independence states:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

We often think of happiness as something we are chasing, and never able to catch up with.  "Once we can afford a bigger house, then we'll be happy."  "Once I find my soulmate, then I'll be happy."  "When I finally lose all this weight, then I'll be happy."

What did the pursuit of Happiness mean to the founding fathers?  Jefferson said happiness meant tranquility and occupation.  For Jefferson, occupation meant mainly his intellectual pursuits.  What if we started defining the pursuit of happiness as the love of learning; the freedom to think for yourself?  Or as the ability and privilege of loving another human being?  (For more information on this, go to http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/mccullough/lecture.html)

Here is a parable that illustrates this idea:

Parable of the King's Emerald

Young Rupert stood by the side of the road watching an unusal number of people hurry past.  At length he recognized a friend.  "Where are all of you going in such a hurry?" he asked.

The friend paused. ... "The King has lost his royal emerald! ... Everyone is searching, for the King has offered a reward ... to the one who finds it.  Come, we must hurry."

"But I cannot go without asking Grandmother," faltered Rupert.

"Then I cannot wait.  I want to find the emerald," replied his friend.

Rupert hurried back to the cabin at the edge of the woods to seek his grandmother's permission. ...

But his grandmother shook her head.  "What would the sheep do?" she asked.  "Already they are restless in the pen, waiting to be taken to the pasture, and please do not forget to take them to water when the sun shines high in the heavens."

Sorrowfully, Rupert took the sheep to the pasture, and at noon he led them to the brook in the woods.  There he sat on a large stone by the stresam.  "If I could only have had a chance to look for the King's emerald!" he thought.  Turning his head to gaze down at the sandy bottom of the brook, suddenly he stared into the water.  What was it?  It could not be!  He leaped into the water. ... "The King's emerald!" he shouted.

With shining eyes Rupert ran to his grandmother's hut to tell her of his great find.  "Bless you, my boy," she said, "but you never would have found it if you had not been doing your duty, herding the sheep."  And Rupert knew that this was the truth.

---------------

I love this parable!  Too often we look for happiness and everything that will make us happy outside of ourselves.  We truly find happiness when we put first things first and when we "tend the sheep."  Rupert didn't find the King's emerald by running around looking for it like all the others were doing.  He found the emerald by taking care of the sheep and being where he was supposed to be.  As we focus our time and attention on loving those around us (whether or not they deserve it;) and learning and growing, we will discover that happiness has been inside us the whole time!

Please leave me a comment below and tell me some of the things that make you happy right now!!!