The Voice of the Office, story of inspiration

There are a lot of us who feel or realize maybe our job isn’t anything special– we aren’t preforming surgeries on a day to day basis that save lives, we aren’t flying jets, manning businesses that literally make the world go round. We are the people that maybe sit in an office or flip burgers, cut trees–whatever our occupation is, it isn’t quite our dream job and it doesn’t really feel like it is that big a deal to the world.


 

Her name was Bev, short for Beverly. She had been 25 for exactly 1 month. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. Five years until thirty. Barely managing to cling onto being able to say, “I’m in my early twenties.” Bev was an average girl, with brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. Bev was also a girl who at one time believed she was going to be one of those people who change the world.

Bev stood in the small office of her job as of a week ago, glancing around the room.  The walls were made of giant bricks which had been painted the exact color of gray which brings to mind a day filled with endless rain. In the small room there were two windows draped with  sun-dyed green curtains, providing an excellent view of the dumpster below. She turned to face her desk where a phone, computer and key board sat, letting out a long sigh. The sigh of a person who realized life was no where near she imagined. The sign of a person who realized her dreams might not come true. She felt the tears rush in, threatening to spill out. She took a deep breath, holding her head slightly back attempting to somehow send the tears back where they came from. She inwardly reminded herself of how when she cried even just a couple drops her nose, eyes–face would be swollen and red as a beet for a the rest of the day. What if someone would stop by? Then she remembered her bosses’ words, “Yeah, at this job you’ll sooner see a cow walk through those doors than another person!”

Bev burst into tears, letting them spill freely down her cheeks.


Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom. 

“You here it?” Bev’s Dad asked, his coppery colored eyes crinkling at the corners like they always did when he smiled.

Six-year old Bev nodded, her brown curls swishing. “What is that, Daddy?” Her blue eyes where wide with curiosity.

Her Dad touched the round, metal object pushing it along his chest.

Bev’s eyes got bigger. “Boom-boom, boom-boom….Daddy what is it?!” She clutched the tubes of the stethoscope which were lodged into her ears, trying to figure out where exactly the boom-boom was coming from.

Her Daddy smiled, eyes crinkling, dimples carving alongside the corners of his mouth. “That’s your Daddy’s heart beating,” he said softly.

Bev’s mouth dropped open as she stared at her Dad in stunned silence.

Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom.

“That’s your heart, Daddy?”

He nodded.

Bev smiled, pushing the tubes deeper into her ears in an attempt to hear the beat better. Her eyes ran over the purple scars barely inching out of the neck of his button-up shirt. “That’s your new heart beating, Daddy isn’t it?”

Tears were touching his eyes, but she didn’t notice. “Mmmhmm.”

“I can tell it’s BIG and HAPPY–and it’s not gonna get tired like your last one. It’s strong– just like you, Daddy.”


 

Bev had wanted to be a doctor. Since the day she heard her Dad’s new heart beat, since the day she discovered how her Dad’s life had been saved by a heart transplant, since the day she received her first stethoscope, since for as long as she could remember. Bev wanted to save lives. Bev wanted to give people the gift her family had been given. Bev wanted to make a difference in the world.

And here she was sitting at a small office, her stethoscope buried in the back of her closet at home; buried under piles of bills, back luck, her Dad’s death, and the resentment and pain she felt from dropping out of medical school from grief.

What would her Dad think of her? She was working somewhere where she saw more walls than she saw people. Where her boss called her the “voice-literally” of the company because her duty was to manage the phone lines and any other form of communication, yet no one saw or would see her face.

She turned on her computer, and flung herself in the chair feeling hollow and missing her Dad more than ever.

She pulled up her personal email account, breathing heavily. Her eyes fixed onto the last email from him. The last email her dad had sent before he died. She let out a deep breath and clicked onto it, reading over words she had nearly memorized by now. He had spent the last two years before he died traveling, volunteering with mission groups that brought food and medical supplies to children. He had been at a remote village in the Amazon Basin, his email filled with the story of his struggle to communicate with the locals in the village. “After hand motions…talking louder and louder and slower and slower (why we do we automatically do that? Hah! NEVER, EVER WORKS but we still give it a go anyway)…the whole nine yards–The chief smiled. And I smiled. He laughed. I laughed. Smiling–it was just about the only thing we understood. I tell ya…if you wanna make a difference, make someone smile.

At the end he had put the quote, “Everyone smiles in the same language”-don’t you forget it, Love Dad =)

Bev read the quote again and again.  Could she ever really have an impact on someone’s life when her career involved practically zero human contact when it did not involve the phone or email?

She read it again.

smile

 

Bev logged out of her personal account and signed into the office email. As she was replying about a client’s question, she decided send out a smiley face next to her name. Before long, Bev decided to send out a smiley face with as much communication as possible, when appropriate. Whether it was through email or by her personal signature, she always sent out a little smile. She didn’t really think it would make a huge difference, but she felt like maybe she was at least sending a little happiness someone’s way.


 

Two years later…

Bev looked into the tiny office with it’s gray brick walls, sagging curtains, and old computer one last time, her heart swelling with happiness and sadness all at once. She had just learned what a difference that smile made. She received hundreds of calls, emails, gifts, and notes of gratitude from so many people she never even met. Hundreds of people had flooded her with gifts, memories of small conversations or shared laughs, saying they would miss “the girl who sent smiles”. Notes which said, “I will never forget the girl who made people smile.” “I know we never met, but we became friends, how amazing is that.” “Bev, you made me feel like I mattered,  you are an amazing young girl.”

Apparently that smile mattered to some people a lot, a lot more than Bev realized.

Today Bev is a cardiologist, making her dreams a reality, and signing her name with a smile.

Wherever you are you can touch someone else’s life. If you can brighten someone else’s day or make them laugh or smile, or complement them in some way, you are a world changer. Even if it was just for a moment, you made someone feel like they mattered or that they were special. We need more of that in the world.

Wherever you are…whoever you are…you can make a difference!

Happy Wednesday!

Never Underestimate Your Ability to Notice

NEVERUNDERESTIMATE

Definition of the word “underestimate” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  1.  to estimate (something) as being less than the actual size, quantity, or number
  2. to think of (someone or something) as being lower in ability, influence, or value than that person or thing actually is

Never Underestimate your ability to notice.

Do you ever feel forgotten about? Or if maybe not forgotten, overlooked? It happens to us all. Literally all of us.

Have you ever had this experience?

You are with a group of friends…coworkers…family…people. Everything is laughing, talking, having a good time. You start telling a story of some kind. You have barely started telling it when you realize somehow someone else has started talking and…everyone is laughing and listening to them. Your words start to get quieter and quieter and slowly fade into almost nothingness as you look around for any stragglers who may be still listening to you. After a glance around the room, you stop talking and give up. Oh well, it just happens (A LOT) You think to yourself. You join in with the others, listening wholeheartedly to the individual who has taken (stolen) the floor.

awkward moment

Yeah. I think we’ve all been there.

And we have probably all been the person on the other end who cut someone off while they were talking.

But… have you ever had this happen?

After 10 minutes your half told story has never made a comeback…it has officially died. Then out of nowhere someone turns, looks you in the eyes and says, “Hey, you started telling a story about such and such….what happened?”

You sit there, in shock and amazement. So someone was listening! Someone does care! Isn’t is startling?  And… AWESOME!

When people notice things about our lives it makes us feel special and cared about. It just makes our day when someone takes the time to compliment us in a very specific way, they ask about something talked about in previous conversation, or remember important dates and events coming up in our life. When people notice things about our lives it makes us feel wanted, like we matter.

I love Trent Shelton’s saying, “It all starts with you.” If we like the feeling of being noticed, why not share the love? =) Truthfully, most of us aren’t very good at noticing things…other than bad things. I’m not sure how or why but bad things are so much more noticeable, but for some reason that is what our minds latch onto. So how do we change this cycle and become someone who is good at noticing?

Three things to help you tap into your “noticing the good things” superpower:

  1. Listen. Being a good listener is devoting your whole attention to whoever is talking and engaging by asking questions, looking at them, and joining in the conversation. (Put your phone AWAY!)
  2. Remember. Do whatever it takes to remember important events or even unimportant things happening in the lives people you come in contact with. I am so, so bad at remembering things, for me I have to write stuff down!
  3. Make a point to say something. People won’t know if you don’t say something…so speak up!

Noticing things has a lot of power. It can literally turn someone’s day around or even make their day. Noticing things can bring more depth to your relationships. Noticing things can save someone. Never Underestimate your ability to notice.

HAPPY FRIDAY!! =)))

 

 

 

“You should settle down”

When you become a certain age you will often have people tell you, “It is time for you to start thinking about settling down.” Or maybe you start to think about this idea of “settling down” yourself.

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “settling down”? Sadly, right when I hear the words settle down the first thing that comes to mind is BORING. No more sporadic fun adventures. Life is OVER. I think a lot of other people might just feel this way too.

very bored

The good news is we are wrong about this notion that settling down means our lives are getting boring. People…we just make it boring.

What settling down actually means….

You are starting to take certain things more seriously in life….maybe you aren’t as “wild & crazy” as you once were. Things that weren’t as important to you are things that are becoming important. Maybe you are tired of renting and want to own a house or buy a piece of land, maybe you want to get married, get a job that will turn into a career…whatever it is, you are ready for a step that is more permanent than ever before.

There are AWESOME things that happen when you settle down:

  1. You realize to reach certain goals or if you hope to retire you must DO SOMETHING! YOU become a MOTIVATED individual. Motivated people have purpose!
  2. You are trying…and succeeding! People who succeed at things are confident!
  3. You are fulfilling dreams! Umm…who doesn’t love fulfilling dreams!?
  4. You are finding things or people that are AWESOME and hey, not just a one-time deal! Diamonds or crystal?
  5. You are probably earning more money than you ever have before in your life!! Do I need to say anything?

Why do so many us adults, who after we settle down, seem so miserable or our lives very boring?

I think it’s because when we think of “settling down” we literally throw all fun out the door with it. We literally think, or even tell ourselves, “My life is about to get boring. All fun and games are OVER.” We have this attitude, this belief that life is no longer going to be carefree and fun. And if we think that way…I think things will turn out that way.

Yeah, maybe settling down means you are “growing up” and you do have to take certain things seriously. But why do we think we can’t enjoy life, laugh a ton and have fun?

Instead of thinking we are “settling down” why don’t we think of it as “settling up”?

Tips for SETTLING UP (but of course can be used at any time in life!)

be awesome

Stay in shape. Please, please don’t let yourself go. It isn’t fair to who you are with or to yourself! Make being healthy a priority…you will NEVER REGRET IT!

Become an adventurer. An adventure honestly is just doing new things for the sake of doing them. Go to a new coffee shop, hike up a mountain, stay in a ritzy hotel, camp in the backyard, help out at the soup kitchen, read a book, travel to a new spot… be active!

Don’t OVER-SPEND! Over-spending or biting off more than you can chew and getting in debt leads us down a dark spiral straight to adulthood misery. We have this the bigger the better mindset…always thinking THINGS buy us happiness. Nope! If you have less money troubles and a smaller house you will be less stressed out and hey…happier. You don’t need to bury yourself in a half a million dollar loan (unless you can afford it, awesome!). There is beauty in simplicity.

If you get married…marry someone who has common interests. Not everything of course…what is the fun in that!!?? But big things like religion, attitude (I think the other person’s attitude about life should be a top priority! Don’t marry someone who is often very, very negative!), and similar life goals are all things you should have close to the same ideas about.

Learn not to “Sweat the Small Stuff.” Why do we make a big deal about stupid things? There is a great book about this topic, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff.” If you have time…read it!

Make time for people. You don’t need a million friends to be happy, just a good little group. Be a good friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom or dad, spouse by giving people time, really listening and making them feel important and special.

All about attitude. A good life really is all about your attitude. Your attitude will affect how you view and live your life. YOUR ATTITUDE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Your attitude will affect your marriage, job, kids, and YOU. Your attitude will get you through the bad times and make the good times better.

Don’t settle down. Settle UP!

HAPPY MONDAY!!!

You are just too nice

Have people ever told you, “You know what your problem is, you are just too nice!” ?
Is there really such a thing as being too nice?

No. 

Before you start writing your rebuttal please continue reading.

I am not talking about being fake and nice…that’s called CHEESE. It’s awful!! Cheesy people are the worst! No I’m talking about nice people that are just genuinely nice. Those people you bump into or meet that leave you smiling and thinking, Gosh! That person was super awesome! I believe striving to be overflowing with kindness changes and impacts the world around you in huge ways. I believe there is enormous power in nicest….and that you are influencing and bettering a lot of lives with your kindness….and as an added bonus nice people tend to be happy people.

But…still…can one be too nice? No…but there is such a thing as allowing yourself to be taken advantage of

People call it “being too nice” but I call it the fear of confrontation and not believing or knowing your worth. 

The fear of confrontation can be a huge problem. The good news is you aren’t one of those people that pick and search for fights and cause a lot of grief to not only others but themselves as well–the bad news is you often feel unappreciated, used, like people don’t listen to or value your work or opinions, and you might just have very low self esteem. The fear of confrontation can take over your life and lead you to down a destructive path. It breaks up friendships, relationships, and opportunity. And in the long run it turns genuinely nice people in to bitter and very mean people.

How do you break the fear of confrontation?

Know your worth. You are valuable! Do you believe that? Really believe it?You have to believe that about yourself. And because you are valuable you have to learn to stand up for yourself…because you owe that to yourself. No one should be taken advantage of…but more importantly no one should allow themselves to be taken advantage of. 

Confrontation is part of life…it will happen at work, in your home, with strangers or with friends and family ….confrontation is everywhere. I hate it…it’s uncomfortable but it’s just gonna happen. If something bothers you say something…be nice (you should be good at that! 🙂 ) but say something. More often than not you will discover people don’t realize they are hurting you or know you are feeling unappreciated. And when you say something? It will clear the air, open a door, sometimes close a door, and most importantly you will be glad you said something. 

I hope this post helps someone out there! I am one of those people who wants to run and hide at the first sign of confrontation…it scares me to death! But I had to realize in the end my lack of being able to stand up or speak up about things was really, really hurting me. The more I faced confrontational situations the easier and less scary it became and the better I felt inside. I was still nice and kind but I felt stronger and more valued! 

Stand up, speak up, be nice and know your worth! 

Have a great saturday! 😊 

Writing (such an original title, I know)

I think one thing that makes someone a writer is not just the urge to write…but the NEED.

I had a long weekend spent in Virginia…a weekend without a piece of paper or keyboard or a pen–not really, all of these objects were available–the real problem was my inability to steal away and write. I think getting away from it all is always a good thing. Breaks work wonders for the mind and body! However, I had that itch. You know that feeling…where you have got to write (or it could get ugly…;) ). I made it back late Monday night, surviving with the knowledge I could write to my hearts desire after I got off of work the next day. Then I checked my email. It’s past 1:00AM, I am lying in my bed, I have to work in the morning…and (after of course the habitual checking of other social media sites) I check my email.

One new message.

I bolt up to sitting position. It’s from a job I applied to. I have an interview! Then I realize the interview will take place…on Tuesday. What was then just about 16 hours away. If you have ever read my post about what happens to me during an interview (mind goes blank…panic mode turns on….etc.) you know I have to give interviews a lot of prep time so I am completely ready for anything blown my way. Thank goodness it was a phone interview…but still….the writing would have to wait.

I’ve heard people say writing can be therapeutic. I think that’s for me it’s absolutely true. After the interview I realized a move literally across the country to Seattle might be in my future (I couldn’t believe I actually heard back from a job so far away). Was this what I really wanted? Seattle? The same day I found out my best friend is moving…OUT OF THE COUNTRY. =(  Life can change so quickly. The good news was my dreams of visiting Europe felt more like a reality. We decided we would meet up in Europe, (I threw out that we’d meet in Greece, I’ve always wanted to see the Mediterranean ) when I finally have enough saved up to go. After the interview, after talking to my best friend…I felt I don’t know…sad and heavy. I had the weight of making a huge decision on my shoulders and was already missing my friend (kindred spirits don’t come around every day!). Writing seemed like the last thing I should do when I had a lot to think (worry…analyze) about.

Yesterday I brewed up some coffee….and instead of pondering life… I just wrote. And gosh, I felt so much better! Writing sometimes helps us focus on something different, helps us get our emotions out and share our hearts. Long story short, I got some of that novel done (and wrote a poem!)….and felt refreshed and renewed. Writing was able to bring me that feeling you have on a really hot day, when your throat is parched and finally take that first sip of ice cold water. AAAHHH.

They Never Knew, A poem

They Never Knew

Her heels click across the floor

Pausing, she opens the old church door.

Heads across the room turn

Making her hands tremble and her cheeks burn.

Then it comes–

That quiet rush

That gentle hum

The deafening hush–

The sound of 1,000 words spoken

The silent looks seeing the 1,000 rules she’d broken.

Tears sting her eyes

And she puts her head down

A baby cries,

And an old woman frowns.

The preacher’s voice rises and falls

The whispers echo across the walls;

She sinks silently into a pew

And thinks, “If only they knew.”

They saw a girl in a short red dress

Sky-high heels, her hair a mess.

What they didn’t see

Was a silent plea;

Eyes puffy from how much she’d cried

A heart broken from watching her Father die.

She’d become an orphan the night before

She had no place to call home anymore.

When the service was over

She left the church pew

Her heart breaking,

And no one ever knew.

-AK

This doesn’t just happen in churches…it happens in schools…at work….everywhere. We are so fast to judge people without bothering to actually care about them. Gosh…we’ve got to stop!

Persistent

Things happen when you are persistent.

I was reading success stories this weekend, in particular author success stories..the stories of those lucky souls who have gotten their books published. To tell the truth at first I was discouraged. It seemed like the book publishing dream was all up to chance…a 1 in a 1,000,000 shot. Then I saw the light…the key…the common link. The people who have gotten their book published wrote, rewrote, sent in submissions, got rejected ….over and over again. But they never gave up. They were persistent and it paid off.

Persistence is hard because it means facing failure …it means being patient …it means knowing results may not come right away…it means work. Three years ago I lost 30 pounds–thirty pounds I had been trying to lose for years. What changed is I realized the workouts..the healthy eating had to be day in..day out…for many many days. Change wasn’t going to happen unless I determined each day to work out and to eat right. What is crazy after a few weeks, eating healthy got easier…and easier…now it’s habit. (But I still enjoy cheese covered fries every now and then…gotta live a little! =) )

The BEST things in life usually don’t happen overnight. They are grown, cultivated, worked for. It has been said that the harder the work, the sweeter the victory. Some of the people I admire the most are people who don’t give up easily…who are persistent. Being persistent can change your body, your job, your relationships…and your life.

DON’T QUIT!