Every Day Is a Gift!

EVERY DAY IS A GIFT!

Yesterday I found out that a dear friend of mine had been in a terrible car accident Monday night as she was returning home from work. She was broadsided and had to be removed from the car with the jaws of life. Today she had surgery for a broken hip. How her life changed in a few moments!
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This morning I got a message that a dear family friend of many years had died suddenly in his chair in California. He had had no serious health issues, and we had just visited with him and his wife in July, going to water aerobics with him, a tennis match, and several dinners out, and he was his usual visionary self.

I was shocked to learn last weekend that another speaker friend from Canada had died, and I know several dear friends who are struggling with persistent and ongoing health issues that have recently attacked them.

All these things have reminded me again of how tenuous this life is. When at age 56, I had lost my father, my son, and my husband, it became clear to me that nothing is guaranteed – this was NOT how I had planned my life to be—yet life did go on, and as a result, I have learned to treasure every moment, even when things are not what I would like them to be.

And yet, perhaps like you, I constantly need reminders that every day IS a gift!

Here are some of the ways I have discovered to keep in touch with my gratitude for life:

Do something every day for someone else. I try each day to write at least one note of appreciation, either in a card or by email, to thank someone for the gift they have been in my life or to just let them know I am thinking of them. This helps me to focus on others and not just on my own needs. There is always someone in my life who needs encouragement and love, and doing something for someone else helps me rise above my own concerns.

Be fully in the present. When our baby died and was buried on Christmas Eve, I did not think I could ever be whole again, and many days I did not think I could even make it through the next hour, let alone a whole day. However, during that time a friend gave me a book that talked about “living five minutes at a time.” Not only did that practice help me get through each day and heal, but it also became a way of life for me. When I am with someone, I am FULLY with them and that is true of each experience in my life. I never want to be thinking about tomorrow when I have this precious moment today!

Rely on my faith for sustenance. If I did not believe there was something better beyond this earthly life, I could not have survived the pain of loss I have experienced. Pain is not only the price of love, but it is also the catalyst for learning and growth. However, without a foundation of faith in God, I think I might have become stuck in self-pity and bitterness. As strange as it may seem sometimes, I have learned that ultimately “all things DO work together for good for those who love the Lord!”

Have a theme for my year. A wonderful speaker friend shared this idea with me, and it has become a treasured practice in my life. Each year on January 1, I choose a one or two word theme for that year to keep me focused on what is TRULY important in my life. In past years I have chosen the themes of “Surrender,” “Finding Peace,” and one of my favorites, “Surprise Me Again, Lord!” My theme this year is “Rebuilding Relationships.” Because I have been so involved in a great deal of travel in my work, particularly internationally, I have struggled with keeping up with my friends all over the world, so this year I have chosen to focus on finding ways to keep in better touch with the people I care about. After all, relationships are really the only lasting thing in this life.

Keeping a blessings journal. For many years I have kept a blessings journal – often just a spiral notebook, but whatever the form, it has helped me to work through my feelings, celebrate my joys, and record my learnings, successes, and failures. I often write letters to God, and somehow, through this process, answers to my concerns and prayers often happen as a result. As I go back through past writings, I also see how God has worked even the most difficult circumstances for good.

As much as my heart is heavy today, feeling the pain of those I love, I also find myself steeped in gratitude once again for the possibility of love and joy each and every day of our lives. We just must keep reminding ourselves and those we love that we are ALIVE TODAY—and that is the most precious gift of all!

To learn more about Barbara’s life and work, go to www.barbaraglanz.com.

Touching Lives

Glanz-tastic!

An interesting exchange took place on Facebook this past week after Graphic Recorder Tim Hamons created and posted a visual representation of my Singapore talk. It truly reinforced for me that no matter where you are in the world, your words and actions matter! You CAN make a positive change and inspire others to do the same with very SIMPLE, no- or low-cost techniques!

The following is a friend of Tim Hamons’ commenting on his Facebook Timeline on the illustration he made of my work. I LOVE that Tim was able to take away SO much of my talk so easily!

Tanvi Gautam: This is amazing !! I could not make it due to another meeting but I feel like I was almost there. Thank you so much Tim ! Can someone please elaborate on the Pennies in pocket and good news points on the MSA model please ? thanks so much.

Tim Hamons: Hi Tanvi Gautam. Barbara Glanz was illustrating a simple model MSA: Models, Stories, Action Ideas…. Some examples of action ideas: Pennies in pocket- give your kids each 5 pennies to put in left pocket. Every time they give a compliment to someone during the day they move a penny to other pocket. The goal is to move them all across everyday. “Good News” is simply starting a meeting by asking everyone to share some “good news” as a way to begin the meeting.

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The questions then, are:
What can YOU do today to take action, inspire others and model positivity?

What Actionable Ideas has someone in your workplace or personal life done recently to touch lives?

Tell me YOUR story and ideas! I’d LOVE to hear from you!

An Inspiration in Asia

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I recently had the opportunity to speak at The Asia Professional Speakers Organization in Singapore!

In attendance was this remarkable gentleman, Tim Hamons, whose talent is both brilliant and most unusual. His title is “Graphic Recorder.” However, this description, (while accurate,) does no justice whatsoever to his skill, nor to his mind’s capacity to completely capture and then visually translate and “retell” the story of my experience with his hands and some markers. His thorough representation so colorfully brought to life the very essence of the positive change I strive to convey in all my work, without missing any models, examples, or details, that I felt, in turn, inspired by him!

I am thrilled to share his creation with you! Please have a look for yourself and SEE my message in a whole new way! I know you will feel more buoyant and glean both the content and context of my message after admiring his stunning visual illustration!

Below is what he shared on his Facebook Timeline. So, please take a moment. Have a good look for yourself and then get back to me! What stood out to YOU?

From Tim Hamons’ Facebook Timeline:

How many ways can you say and demonstrate “I care” to your audience? The amazing Barbara Glanz modeled and showed us many ways.

Key takeaways:
1. Create a positive human level connection with every transaction,
2. Design creative “care packages” for your customer,
3. Focus on creative communications and action ideas to surprise and get your message across.
— with Barbara Glanz

Glanz-tastic!

And Tim couldn’t have been more kind and complimentary about how my presentation reached him, giving him actionable ideas and inspiration, which is always my promise and my goal.

Tim Hamons wrote: 10:32pm Aug 14
“Thank you Barbara, for your generosity, abundant soaring spirit, and inspiring models. You are such an inspiration and model of selfless giving, joy, trust. It was such a blessing to meet you and hear your stories and models for creating positive change. I hope to get the chance to work with you and to share our visual work with some of your inspiring learning events. “

I do hope that his graphic recording, as well as my words and ideas will truly inspire you to make positive changes today and every day in your work and in your life!

Tired Feet….and a Regenerated Spirit!

I recently received this email from a person who was in my audience at the Society for Human Resource Managers annual conference where I was speaking on “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™-Creating Workplaces of Passion, Purpose, and Productivity”:

Barbara,

I recently attended the SHRM conference in Orlando and had the accidental privilege of hearing you speak. After walking around the convention center all morning, I found myself lost on the third floor with blisters on my heels. Unable to go any farther, I hobbled into your session. I’ve never been so glad to be in pain!

Initially, I had not planned on attending your session because I had seen you several years ago. I bought your books and I even got to meet you in person at a book signing. Boy, did your session re-energize my spirit! I currently work for a younger manager who believes that employees are just a Craigslist ad away. He even told me, a dedicated employee of 25 years, that “anyone who’s been here more than 5 years is complacent and worthless.” Needless to say, our workplace is not the happiest place in the world. Our manager does not even say hello when he passes by. It’s very demoralizing to go to work everyday.

But your session gave me renewed hope that I can possibly make up for his ignorance by using acts of kindness to perk up our staff. I have already dug through your books and found ideas for a short survey that I can give to the staff as soon as I return to work.

Thank you, Barbara, for the kick in the pants I needed to reverse the negativity in our workplace!

Sincerely,
Cynthia Pearce
HR Director

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I immediately wrote Cynthia to thank her for the affirmation and to encourage her with even more ideas of small things that cost little or no money. Just this week she wrote back with this reply: “In the spirit of appreciation, I asked the chef to save all of the leftover Ice cream novelties for me to share with my co-workers when I pass out paychecks tomorrow. It’s very warm here, so I’m hoping my ‘Ice cream (I scream) my appreciation of you’ goes over well! Thanks again for the motivation.”

One of the joys of my mission is helping people create fully engaged workplaces of caring, creativity, FUN and ultimately greater productivity, and the best news of all is that it DOESN’T have to cost money. Way to go, Cynthia — you are making a difference!

Go to www.barbaraglanz.com/ideas and check out the archives for even more ways to make your workplace a great place to be. You can also subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™,” for a new idea every month.