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Generosity

When you think of a generous person, who first comes to mind?

Generosity – “a willingness to give help or support, especially more than is usual or expected.”

Who has inspired you the most to greater generosity?

I hope that it won’t be some famous celebrities or philanthropists, rather it’ll be a family member, a friend, someone in the community, or a co-worker perhaps.

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” said Debbie Macomber.

One by One.
Act by Act.
Service by Service.
Little by Little.
Each of us can make a difference.

I am encouraged by the words of the Dalai Lama who said – “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

We simply don’t talk about generosity enough.

We desperately need more men and women in society at large to look around, to look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others. To become more selfless, outward looking, to give more, to be more compassionate and much, much more generous. Some will think it airy-fairy. Yet, it is a powerful, personal, potent, peace giving potion.

What can you do, who will you help today?

Frustration

What frustrates you?

Frustration: “…the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”

I know that an upside of frustration is that it tells you that you still have some important lessons to learn in a specific area.

Are you like me? Gripping a few prickly problem perhaps? You try extremely hard to resolve the issue yourself. Then anxiety and stress start to build. We become our own worst enemy, when infuriatingly despite our best efforts, we can’t resolve the matter. Grrrr!

I was like that for a little while on Saturday morning. What was this huge grizzly challenge? Of all things – a wooden gate! My woodworking skills aren’t amongst my top abilities and my stubbornness meant I wasn’t for listening to any suggestions either.

Yet, sometimes a rescuer comes along and helps. With patience, kindness and tender words, they help you to see things differently, offering alternative solutions to the issue at hand. The answer can only be received if you humble yourself, set aside your pride and listen!

As the tension subsided, working together we resolved the matter. Gate fixed! Thank you to my darling wife, for her forbearance, restraint and composure to deal with grumpy old me. Lesson learned, again!

Civility lifts people

“Thank you” she said. “No, thank you” said another. Out campaigning yesterday for what I believe in, something impressed me about everyone I met – every individual person was civil and respectful. What a joy!
I’m not sure why I would have expected anything else, but what I do believe is that each of us should be active in the communities in which we live. We should aim to work cooperatively and do as much good as we can, treating others with respect and civility regardless of different views or perspectives of a given situation.
In Scotland, as another election looms on the horizon, I hope that we will continue to enjoy healthy debate, but also cordial and reasoned exchanges amongst one another. Each of us are free to choose our own political philosophy, where we can think and speak for ourselves. Living in a society which embraces freedom of speech and values democracy is something so important to each and everyone of us. I hope we all get that.
Civility lifts people up and is key to how we engage with others.
Rather than rancorous confrontation, I hope and pray that in the days ahead, we choose to be equally kind, considerate, civil, co-operative and respectful of one another, despite the broad range of views in the political spectrum.

Thank you NHS

Millions are suffering. Fear, worry and anxiety have gripped the hearts of so many. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost.
Despite all this, I have personally witnessed a flood of helping hands. Kind acts of compassion and service have touched the hearts of millions.
Many homes, pubs, churches, community centres, businesses, colleges, universities, sports clubs and many others have opened their doors to help. In addition thousands of individuals have transformed their local communities by selflessly giving of their time and energy in a multitude of kind acts of service, establishing food banks or simply going out of their way to do good. I cannot say enough about them, for their goodness, drive and vitality.
We are now witness to a Herculean effort by our NHS in the UK and health organisations the world over, to vaccinate populations in record times as COVID-19 spirals out of control. The next few weeks will be challenging. There may be a few more bumps in the road, but I’d like to express my gratitude and thanks to those who serve tirelessly, lovingly and so compassionately. The very least we can do is pray for them every day.
You know who you are. We are indebted to each of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and depths of my soul.

Council Together

I am grateful for the many opportunities to council together with friends, colleagues and especially family members this last year.

There have been many challenges to address over the last few months and as I look to the year ahead, I am certain there will be many more.

Meeting together as a family council, we set technologies aside, we listen to one another, we discuss concerns, we make plans, set goals, we support and strengthen one another. Jointly, we search for solutions to the problems of the day. When open and candid conversation is filled with love, patience, kindness and respect for the opinions of each other, the council has always been a success.

In addition, when each member of the family is invited to contribute to the discussion, they can and do feel part of any decision reached. In turn, this leads to positive reinforcement of their own feelings and supports our family to move forward in a unified manner, as we each take ownership of the issue.

Whether it is around the family dinner table, the work canteen table, or the board room table, the principles of sitting in council together are universal.

Why not give it a go today? Focus on an issue and ask – What can we do about it? What are your ideas?

Travelling the Road of Life

What a challenging year.
As I slow down for Christmas and reflect upon the last 12 months, I am reminded of one of my favourite old fables. Time and again it reminds me of what really matters most of all. Despite the challenges of 2020, I hope it will give you some clues to your own purpose in life.

The King’s Highway

“Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to hold a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway best.
On the day of the contest, the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos or great food. Some young men came in their sports togas and ran along the highway. People travelled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris on the road at one spot, and this had hindered their travel.
The Finishing Line
At the end of the day, a lone traveller crossed the finish line and wearily walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty – but he addressed the king with great respect, and handed him a bag of gold. He explained, “I stopped along the way to clear away a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it, and I would like you to help me return it to its rightful owner.” The King replied, “You are the rightful owner.” The traveller replied, “Oh no, this is not mine. I’ve never known so much money.” “Oh yes,” said the king, “you’ve earned this gold, for you have won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow”… Author Unknown.
As you have served others this year, what have you discovered?
It is my sincere hope that as we serve and help others along their paths in life at home, in our families, in our communities, in government and business organisations we will be ever mindful of the greatest servant of all, whose birth we celebrate this Christmas Season.
It has been wonderful working with many familiar folks this year, making so many new friends along the way too. In addition, working with new clients and organisations as well in 2020 has been incredible. To each and everyone, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.

Generosity

When you think of a generous person, who first comes to mind?

Generosity – “a willingness to give help or support, especially more than is usual or expected.”

Who has inspired you the most to greater generosity?

I’d like to think that it won’t be some famous celebrities or philanthropists, rather it’ll be a family member, a friend, someone in the community, or a co-worker perhaps. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” said Debbie Macomber.

One by One. Act by Act. Service by Service. Little by Little. Each of us can make a difference.

I am encouraged by the words of the Dalai Lama who said – “Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.”

We simply don’t talk about generosity enough. We desperately need more men and women in society at large to look around, to look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others. To become more selfless, outward looking, to give more, to be more compassionate and much, much more generous.

Some will think it airy-fairy. Yet, it is a powerful, personal, potent, peace giving potion.

What can you do, who will you help today?

Gratitude

Some years ago, the District of Columbia police auctioned off about 100 unclaimed bicycles as told by Thomas S. Monson.

““One dollar,” said an 11-year-old boy as the bidding opened on the first bike. The bidding, however, went much higher. “One dollar,” the boy repeated hopefully each time another bike came up. The auctioneer, who’d been auctioning stolen or lost bikes for 43 years, noticed that the boy’s hopes seemed to soar higher whenever a racer-type bicycle was put up. Then there was just one racer left. The bidding went to eight dollars. “Sold to that boy over there for nine dollars!” said the auctioneer. He took eight dollars from his own pocket and asked the boy for his dollar. The youngster turned it over in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters—took his bike, and started to leave. But he went only a few feet. Carefully parking his new possession, he went back, gratefully threw his arms around the auctioneer’s neck, and cried.”

Gratitude creates the most wonderful feeling. It can resolve disputes and it will strengthen friendships.

I believe saying thank you is the mark of a cultivated mind. It will change others hearts and they’ll respond differently than they have before. Funnily enough, you’ll be happier too!

Think to thank – today!

Appreciation

“What is the best way to express appreciation to a team member?” asked a course participant. “There are many ways, but let me tell you about my favourite” I responded.
Some context, this week, I have been busy delivering some global virtual workshops on employee engagement.
My story is a simple one.
As a coach, when a series of coaching conversations come to their ultimate conclusion, I frequently receive a note of thanks, sometimes even a little gift and occasionally both. I do not seek after them, these things simply arrive in the post. The thank you notes are always filled with beautiful heartfelt words of gratitude. Each card is carefully written and filled with expressions of appreciation and kindness for the time I’ve given to an individual to help them along in their personal journey. The result, usually a warm fuzzy!
Cards and gifts are always nice to receive, but the key part of my story is this, we simply need to genuinely express our appreciation. We start by saying 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒌 𝒚𝒐𝒖.
It seems like an extremely obvious thing to do, yet we need to become much more accustomed to saying thank you more often, by making it personal and real.
Please don’t let the next opportunity to express your appreciation for a job well done pass by, say thank you!

Loud voices

As the flames rage, smoke billows and the embers burn, 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 loud voices argue on……good morning world.

Global Pandemic, economic carnage, climate change, terrorism, disease – need I go on!

The world is in commotion.

Welcome to Planet Earth – 2020

What can I do? What can we do?

Sure, I can make certain that I follow social distancing, recycle my waste and follow the laws of the land.

And yet, this morning, like every morning, somehow I look to the future with hope for a better world, a brighter future.

There are better days ahead. We will get through this challenge. And the next , and the next and the next.

You see, I can choose to make a difference every single day.

An act of kindness.

An act of service.

An act of compassion.

There is always someone to reach out to.

Just open your eyes and look.

It is up to you and me, to make a difference, every single day, one by one.

What will you choose to do today?