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What Would You do Without Christmas?

I was a child who never had a Christmas. I wasn’t Jewish. Or Muslim. Nor were my parents atheists, not by any definition of the word. We were Christians. We just didn’t observe the religious holidays associated with that faith. My parents explained to me that it was because the observations - the rituals, traditions and religious rites - associated with the Christian holidays were adapted from the pagans. Besides, they said, even if Christ had been born on December 25th, we didn’t need one day of the year to celebrate his birth; they celebrated his life and death every day in everything they did. I accepted that. But my child’s heart still yearned to believe in the magic of Santa and his elves. My storybook habit fed my imagination tales that ranged from the ironic sacrifices of the The Gift of the Magi to Jo March surrendering her one vanity in order to provide a fitting Christmas for her beloved sisters. I couldn’t wait until I grew up and could have a tree of my own, decorated just the way I dreamed it. I would sit and watch it twinkle from my cozy chair by a roaring fire with a cup of hot cocoa or cider in hand. I pictured the friends who would gather, the songs we would sing, the laughs we would share. We’d pull taffy and make chains of popcorn and berries for the tree. We’d light candles and kiss under the mistletoe. Oh, when I grew up, I would have a Christmas that no one would ever forget! And I did have many grown...

Is that ALL That You Yam?

“Are you using ‘I am what I am’ as an excuse for being less than you can be?” “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.” One of the most famous lines ever delivered by a philosopher or comic book character! I thought maybe I’d give you a little background on what made me write that down, or maybe I’d give you a little encouragement along the lines of “be all that you can be.” But I think you know what it means. I think you know that you are more than a “simple sailor” or a simple ANYTHING. I think you’re looking for access to your deepest, biggest, awesomest self. Just like I am. And just like I do, I’ll bet sometimes it’s tempting to say to yourself, “I am what I am, I can’t be more.” So instead I decided I would share with you an exercise one of my coaches asked me to undertake. To write a list of “I Am” statements - and use them as a challenge, as a way to raise the bar and as an incentive to accelerate the pace of the game. I took that exercise beyond the usual “I am a writer, I am a coach, I am an animal lover, I am a small-town girl transplanted to a life in the city…” I asked myself, “What are you really, if you were no longer any of those things?”   I AM… A unique arrangement of universal matter. I have never been and I will never be again. I am the seed and the soil, the rose and the rose hip....

The Perfect Gift – A sequel to “Adding Joy Wherever You Go”

In April of 2009 I sat on a full flight, headed for a conference in Phoenix, AZ, reading an early draft of a book called Go-Givers Sell More by my friends Bob Burg and John David Mann. I was in the center seat with a large gentleman to my right and another to my left. Somewhere over what I guess might have been Colorado I began to cry. It wasn’t that the book upset me. Far from it. Go-Givers Sell More is a delightful read (I especially love The Law of Left Field) with a lot of very practical information on building successful traits and real life examples of how The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from The Go-Giver can be applied. No, I was crying because I had reached page 73 and discovered my own story as one of those real life examples. I still feel a little sorry for those two gentlemen who shared my plane ride that morning. I don’t suppose there is anything more unsettling than to have a complete stranger get all teary-eyed and you without a hanky or another seat you can move to. But I assured them all was well, happy tears, and flashed them a big smile to prove it. It was, after all, a story about smiling. In December of 2008 I had posted a story on this blog titled The Perfect Gift. In it, I recounted how, as a young manager in an accounting firm, I played a game called “what will it take to make you smile.” John David Mann surprised me by reposting it to The Go-Giver...