Archives for category: Excellence


Benevolence.

Something wonderful happens when we give from the heart. True monetary philanthropists give freely in exchange for an experience in helping others achieve their financial goals. But not everyone has extra money lying around. Even so, we can give freely what we do possess: A smile will warm someone’s heart. A good thought or an offer of blessings helps the giver feel a gratitude that seems to transcend throughout the universe. A hug can be received and given since human touch is a necessity for each of us. Share a laugh by telling a good joke. Perhaps you can offer a service of some kind like walking a dog or providing a nutritious meal to an ill neighbor. A merciful act toward someone in debt to you for a favor or monetary transaction releases the bondage debt creates.

Whatever we can do without looking for reward is benevolence. Aren’t you grateful for people like this in your life? Sometimes, even a random act of kindness to a stranger will brighten the giver’s and the receiver’s day.

Pay it forward with random actions of kindness. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line, or offer to pay for someone’s groceries. You never know who might need your offering that day. Have you ever been the recipient of such a kind, unexpected gift? I hope you have. The experience can be most humbling, yet inspiring. Gifts come in all types of packages; they don’t have to cost much at all, they just need to come from the heart. Make someone’s day by showing some gratitude for the things you possess and sharing them with another.

Joy,

Cheryl

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Accountability.

Today’s Virtue is Accountability. For any challenge or self-improvement one undertakes, it is best to be held accountable to stay on track. Yesterday’s first post for my Gratitude Challenge: Using the Virtues started with Acceptance. When we are held accountable, we achieve much more than we expected. It forces us to drum up our essence, the excellence within, that we might pay less attention to when we think no one is watching. Many challenges I’ve participated in require a partner to ensure my goals are met. Much of the time, the community built around the challenges provide an equal push. I am grateful for all who share the same path during the challenges, especially the accountability partners. To ensure actions are completed, each of us must admit whether or not we have done the work. No fudging the truth; sometimes I must explain my actions, or lack of action during the challenges.

Each of us is accountable for what we do in life – it’s one of the more strict virtues in the list. It suggests that we are weak and tend to shirk responsibility. Ouch. I’ll admit to having let a goal or two dissolve during my lifetime. I don’t always fill the shoes I intend to fill. This blog might be one of them. Sometimes we can justify it by calling it choice. When I choose to write, I will. Or I might say that I need some inspiration to write. Well, where does that inspiration come from? It depends on what I want to achieve. What about setting goals to lose weight or write that book? It might be difficult to be inspired to live out a dream.

I am reminded of a poem by Langston Hughes, called “Harlem.” The first line asks the very question many of us ask, “What happens to a dream deferred?” Because this line is so famous, most people think the title should match. Without a community built around the same goals, we end up in the same place we started – with a dream without action.

For major goals in life, seeking out someone to partner with is extremely helpful. I’ve gone through some strict detoxes over the past couple of years. Without others who inspire me to make sure I’m drinking my green smoothie or walking 10,000 steps each day, the tasks seem too hard to accomplish on my own. A cheerleader on my side is a blessing. I feel stronger than ever to maintain my convictions for healthy living.

Does this mean that we cannot be accountable on our own? No. Not at all. Sometimes the goal is enough. Many people are certain that as long as we know why we want to achieve some major change, we will do it based on a strong will and determination. Thank goodness, perseverance is instilled in all of us at birth. We have heard about the many who have achieved great things. We are no different.

I am thankful to find the wonderful people in my networks who help me to be my best even when I don’t feel up to it. Be accountable; practice making it a habit. Find an accountability partner to ensure you meet your goals. In return, be an accountability partner who helps another achieve a goal.

Joy,
Cheryl

Boldly get on with your life.

Assertiveness is the virtue I am grateful for today. Do you know people who display a bold confidence in their behaviors or when they speak? They exude a confidence that is strikingly different than some of us. This virtue has a sister; it’s called ambition. When we are assertive, we possess a strong desire to accomplish our goals. No self-defeating actions exist for an assertive person.

Sometimes we need assertiveness in sales. Now, I’m not necessarily talking about product sales; we often need to sell ourselves first, especially if we are looking for work, being careful not to sound pushy. When I applied as a transfer student to D’Youville college, I showed my ambitious and assertive self. I knew what I wanted and had the audacity to tell the department chair my plans to withdraw my application if the college did not accept all my credits without condition. I was not unpleasant toward the person behind the desk; I just knew that my GPA was high enough to qualify, and felt much confidence in my accomplishments. Instead of complying to their conditions, I indicated my own. Needless to say, other professors heard about my interview and knew who I was before I attended any classes. One of these fine professionals was Bob Nielsen, whom I dedicated this blog.

Confidence is what makes the difference. If I had not asserted myself and my intentions, I might not have met all the wonderful people who later became my mentors. Confidence changes circumstances. Confidence changes us. Quite often, I look back and think that exuberance is needed in every aspect of life. It helps us to push boundaries and to step out of our comfort zones.
We cannot allow the negative stories in our minds, or our fears, to keep us from doing what we want – whether it be applying for a new job, talking to someone attractive, or asking for what we need or want out of life. So many times, we think things won’t work for us. How would we know until we try? Of course, my interview might not have gone the way I’d hoped it would, but I had to be less concerned about the outcome. I had to be myself. Sometimes I miss being a young girl when I had less fears. Perhaps, back then, I thought less of what people might think of me than I do now. When did my attitude change? When did I let this virtue escape me?

I think it’s time to recapture some of that confidence and assertiveness.

• Define the fear that holds you back
• Determine your desires
• Demonstrate your willingness to forget what others might think of you

I am grateful that assertiveness is never lost; they act quite like muscles. You’d need to work on them to build them up; but they never disappear, even after years of neglect.
Find and build your confidence today.

Joy,
Cheryl

We are responsible for our own lives. Each of us must recognize what has worked for us in the past, what has not worked, and make new decisions based on that knowledge for the next move.

We have all made mistakes.

We must determine if we are present in life or absent from it. If we are present, we continue to move forward understanding ourselves and how we react to good and not good times in life and are able to understand what we can correct as far as our behaviors those things we do that hinder our progress. If we are absent from our lives, events will continue to happen to us and should be no surprise that we have no control.

Which is better? To be an agent and act in such a way that we make our lives happen for us the best we can, or shall we allow the world and circumstance to toss us about like a boat with no anchor?

Joan Didion’s essay “On Self-Respect” can serve as a reminder to accept our own failures and make them our own. Maturity does not come as we hit benchmarks in age, only when we can make peace with our failures and shortcomings. The honor society that Joan hoped to join did not allow her a second chance because she messed up. It was her own responsibility to perform in such a way that would gain her the recognition she thought she deserved. Her aim for the essay is to help us see the errors we make as just another happening or occurrence in life, to help us understand that we control some of those unfavorable outcomes. We may not live up to the expectations that are either placed on us by others or the expectations we place on ourselves. Those mistakes, regardless of the matter, are our own. At this time we move on. We will carry the memory of our errors, but we must not live there. We keep pressing forward. We respect ourselves for what we did or did not do. Nielsen used to say to me, “The choice you made, either good or not good, was the right choice for you at that time.” We own our choices and move forward, not stopping to dwell in the past.

We do not stop living after a mistake. We do not need to stop trying to be the best we can be due to past errors. We do not stop striving for excellence.

Setbacks are setbacks.

A future will happen. Will you be awake and present for it, or will you be absent? It is your choice.

Joy,

Cheryl

#choice