People need other people


“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“What are you doing for others?” Ask yourself this question a few times, and then think about the last time you lent a hand to someone … was it yesterday? Last week? Last year? Whether or not you remember the last time you helped someone, you have today to make moves.

Ring. Ring. Wake-up call. A close friend and mentor of mine called me on Monday to explain why they had been M.I.A. for the past few weeks. Family health scares, loss of a loved one, and fear of the future were all topics mentioned by this good friend. Wake-up call: Things came into perspective for me. Almost 20 minutes prior to our call, I was upset that my evening dinner plans were cancelled. Suddenly, my minor issue seemed like nothing compared to his. The two subtle reminders I took away from this brought me back down to earth:

  • Life does not always go as planned; embrace it.
  • Someone else’s life circumstance is far worse than your current state in life; appreciate all you have.

A fundamental step toward helping someone is to first help yourself. Selfishness, apathy, and bad habits are risky things to have in life. They prevent you from experiencing the full joy of helping others and improving their situation. Once this step is checked off of your list, you have the freedom to think, go and do for other people. You can break free from laziness, self-pity and greed, opening up an opportunity to care for another individual and relieve them of stress.

One of the most misinterpreted perceptions of serving others is that you need money. This is a matter of opinion. All you really need is a good attitude. People need signs of hope and the overall belief that things will be better for them in the future. Sometimes, it’s as simple as giving someone a smile, waving to them when you’re in the car, or telling a person that they matter. If you have the resources of time and money to volunteer or give to an individual or group, it’s an added bonus. Author and comedian, Sam Levenson once wrote, “People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” Make your move today.


Simple Steps for the New Year


The New Year holiday tends to bring out the cliché in everyone. I think we can all agree that the “new year, new me” resolutions are old news. Take life as its given, one day at a time, one moment at a time.

So, with the kickoff of 2015, I offer you ten simple steps to help you in the New Year. Happy 2015!

1. Reflect.

Evaluate the past 365 days. Browse through your iPhotos and think back on the memories you made in 2014. Write down the moments that impacted you the most. Think of the times where you laughed the hardest (perhaps to tears) and realized how blessed you were in 2014. Step back and reflect.

2. Set goals.

Set goals, big goals. If you accomplish them, great. If not, re-write your strategy. Every day that God gives you presents another opportunity to be better and try harder. Take advantage of free time. Realize that you’re never too busy to stop dreaming about your next move.

3. Pray for wisdom and understanding.

One of my favorite bible verses is Colossians 2:2-3, “I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” There is no time like the present to get on your knees and pray for a better world. However, results do not happen overnight, wisdom and understanding are key in getting through life’s circumstances.

4. Empower others.

Find someone to empower in 2015. Everyone needs an extra word of encouragement to make it through good times and hard times. Push someone to suit up and make a difference.

5. Travel.

See the world, invest in a trip far away from home. Go somewhere you have never been before to experience the scenery, local dining, and culture. Your wallet may be lighter when you return home but your soul will be more rich.

6. Throw fear out the window.

So, you’re afraid to swim with sharks in the ocean? I am too, but it’s on my bucket list. Go hang gliding, climb Mount Everest, do something new that you’ve always been hesitant to do. If it scares you, it might be a good thing. The only way to get over your fear of something, is to run through it and let it know you’re an overcomer.

7. Stay humble.

Hold yourself accountable for your achievements and mishaps. Take ownership of your mistakes and give credit where it’s due. Remember you did not get through steps a), b), and c) in life without a support system. Whether you’re climbing the social or career ladder, praise others for helping you.

8. Downsize.

One of my mentors once told me that all you need in life is a suitcase. She also said that if you have too many items to pack, then you need to downsize in order to fit them all into your suitcase. This person traveled around the world and lived in over six different countries. Clean out your closet, let go of the boxes of old clothes you have not been able to give away. Find a local crisis center to donate to and avoid using your credit card in replacing those items. Get organized and free yourself from clutter.

9. Say “I love you” each day.

Each day presented to you is a blessing. Let the people around you know that you love and appreciate their presence. Take advantage of long car rides, family vacations, and the power of technology. Use that face time and remind someone that they are loved.

10. Celebrate.

Save your pennies and plan a big get-together. Go to your favorite place in the city with your best friends. Count your blessings and leave lee-way for the growing list of promises that God has set for you in 2015. Make it a year to remember and celebrate life.