Category Archives: Encouragement

How to be a Quiet Activist

How to Be a Quiet Activist

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Historically, before any major social and political changes occur, there are rallies, demonstrations, and uprisings.  When people feel ignored, dismissed, or oppressed they reach a boiling point and find dramatic ways to get attention made to their plight or cause.

Consider The Boston Tea Party, Labor demonstrations and organizations, the march from Selma, Pride Parades, the Million Man March, the Native American Pipeline Protest, and the Women’s March.  These are just a few in our U.S. history.

Whether you agree with their platforms or their choice of actions, one cannot disagree that these activists bold moves brought more attention to their movements and brought, at best, momentum for change and, at worst, started a conversation.

What if you believe in a cause but you aren’t very good at being squeaky?

Maybe you are introvert or shy away from loud crowds of people?  What if your responsibilities keep you from participating? Perhaps your temperament would not be a good addition to the cause. What can you do?

You Can Still Let Your Voice Be Heard

There are things you can do to support the front lines and they need you!

Movements always need supporters or the leaders just appear to be crazy ranters. And things don’t truly change until people adopt different attitudes and habits.

You can be heard by:

  • Signing petitions
  • Writing your lawmakers/people in power (a good starting point is www.senate.gov or  www.house.gov    
  • Sharing thoughtfully worded opinions by you or someone else on social media about your cause (Before sharing anything on social media, make sure it is factually correct, and that you are educated enough on the subject to have a thoughtful debate, and that you can do it without spewing vitriol or hate)
  • Having an intelligent conversation or debate amongst those in your circle of influence. (Please note the word conversation, which is not the same as sermon and the same rules for social media apply here)
  • Vote

During this process, always be willing to listen to the other side before replying.  This way you can learn from them and address any concerns they might have about your thought process.  Or perhaps, in the midst of the back and forth, you may find a middle ground or a better approach to a problem (two heads are better than one).

Civilized conversation is also more persuasive than soapbox rants and name calling.  While that would seem to be common sense, it would appear in this day and age it is not as common as it used to be. Treating or speaking to people in a dignified manner is the greater influencer.

You Can Be Behind the Scenes

There is an enormous amount of work that goes into social and political change. You can always work behind the scenes to do the non glamorous jobs.

There is never a shortage of grunt work or the need for specialized services. You may be a painfully shy agoraphobic accountant but that is ok, they still need someone to keep the books even if you are never seen in public.

If all you have is a couple of odd hours here and there, I am sure you can find some way to be useful.  Just ask.

Financial Support

Money still talks.  Money is still necessary to help accelerate a cause.

You can choose where you spend your money and what or who it supports.  You can monetarily support the squeakers and the noisemakers.  You can monetarily support programs already in place to help what you believe in.

You Can Be An Example

What do you believe in?  Do your actions show it?

Good examples don’t need an introduction.  They are walking the walk.  They affect change without raising their voices or carrying banners.

They are the ones living their beliefs without the parades, the signs, or the bullhorns.

Pick a cause, any cause, and you can find many more people doing the groundwork than people bringing attention to it. The more people who are doing the important work instead of just talking about it, the faster and more likely you are to get sustainable results.

Being an example is also a great way to support many causes at once.  You can support political affiliations, civil rights, and the environment all at the same time just by choosing the way you live your life.

More Suggestions?

As one who quietly supports my causes, I use all of the above strategies.  Is there anything I left out?  Do you have any other methods or approaches to being a quiet activist?

Your Turn:  I seriously want to know…what do you do to be a quiet activist?

New starts, clean slates, letting go

Hello Clean Slate

There is nothing more exciting to me than a brand new spiral notebook.  It is just so beautiful.  So pristine.  So ready for the possibilities.  It is a clean slate. I love it because I can do whatever I want.  It could be a to-do list, a journal, a sketchbook, or I can fill it with notes about any subject I want.  What is there not to like about that?

Many times a clean slate is harder to come by than a new notebook:  Moving, ending relationships, starting new jobs, apologizing.  However, we get that magic time that our cultural tradition gives us every year…New Years! Continue reading

How to build a tribe in real life

How to Build a Tribe IRL

 

In the blogosphere and business world, you will see countless mentions of “building your tribe”.  It is great advice- everyone needs a support system- but often it seems it is applied to an online network or following.  There is nothing wrong with that but we don’t live a virtual or compartmentalized life. We live in a tangible world and everything we do is just part of the whole of who we are. Continue reading

Looking for Gratitude

How to Find Gratitude When Your Life is a Trainwreck

 

Gratitude is touted as a key to happiness.  I absolutely unequivocally believe that it is true. But how do you find gratitude when life is off the rails, when it seems like you are taking one step forward and two steps back, or when it feels like there is a grand conspiracy against you?  Life has a way of doing that to us sometimes.

In the wreckage, there is always at least some tiny grain of thankfulness.  If we can find the little tiny grains and store them up for ourselves, before long we have a bushel basket.  The more we have to be grateful for the less imposing our problems look. Continue reading

Change is inevitable

Six Reasons to Embrace Change and Four Ways to Do It!

 

Fall is here!

One of the great things about living in the Midwest is watching the change of seasons.  Every season brings something unique and wonderful.

All that change suits someone like me that lives a serial life.

Change is inevitable. The weather changes. The seasons change.  We grow older.  Culture changes. Fashion changes. Technology changes.  Life is always in flux.

However, there are many out there that don’t do well with change.

Yes, it can be prickly.  Yes, it is not always in our control.   It’s going to happen anyway.

Change isn’t inherently bad and we know it is going to happen anyways, we should embrace it and make the most out of it. Continue reading

The Best Time to Reboot is NOW!

The Best Time for a Reboot is NOW!

The best time to start all over or work on a new goal is NOT Monday, next week, or New Year’s Day.

The best time is the minute you know you need the change.

The best time is when you have defined that new goal.

The best time is when you’ve made the decision.

The best time is NOW!

Continue reading

One act that can revolutionize gossip

One Act That Can Revolutionize Gossip

 

You can find gossip anywhere.

The office, church, friends, even your own family…no one is immune.

We often associate gossip as negative. If we are going to be politically correct, we would say that gossip is frowned upon.  However, even social scientists are finding that it has some benefits to society.  A Stanford study  determined that gossip can actually deter selfishness and encourage cooperation. Who knew?

While these benefits are interesting news no one wants to be the topic of such gossip. Gossip has bad connotations.  Gossip gone too far can turn into bullying and become a detriment to any environment. Gossip has a huge ICK factor.

However, there is a way to turn gossip upside down.

Continue reading

How to Move On After a Sh*t Storm

How to Move on After a Sh*t Storm

 

Sh*t Storm:  A seemingly endless series of unlucky events, or negative occurrences. [as defined by urbandictionary.com]

We’ve all been there.  Nothing is going right.  It’s one thing after another.

I’m not talking about having a bad day or dealing with Murphy’s Law or even throwing ourselves a pity party.

I’m talking about the kind of storm where there are one or more of those life altering type moments.  It could be an illness or injury of yourself or a loved one, a death in the family, a layoff, or some other tragic event. The things that we have little or no control over.

The really BIG stuff.  Continue reading

How to Make a Difference Without Being Extraordinary

Bloom Where You Are Planted

 

[I’ve discussed this topic before but it keeps popping up everywhere in conversation so I am addressing it again and expanding some different aspects of i.t]

People are looking for purpose in their lives.  I hear many of them say that they wish to make a difference in the world.  Many times they say it as if they can’t.  Or that whatever they do has to be of epic proportions.  Or as if it is something they aren’t ready for just quite yet.

Chances are if everyone took a look at who made a difference in their life, or looked at the people around them, those that have done the most good are not the people who are labeled heroes.  They aren’t famous.  They aren’t considered the movers and the shakers.  They’re just an average Jane or Joe living their life and treating others as if they matter. Continue reading

Nine Ways to Relax When You Can't Go On Vacation

9 Ways to Relax Without Going on Vacation

I recently had the pleasure of going on a vacation. Destination: Idaho. Far away from my Midwestern home.  It was a spectacular break.

The change of scenery was wonderful.  I loved the mountains and the fact that the temperature drops in the evening to a nice cool crisp number after a hot day.  The rural scenery and wild life were interesting.  Even when we didn’t see the elk, the moose, and the bears we were informed about, it was still interesting that we might.

We stayed with a family member who was the epitome of hospitality and we were treated incredibly well by even more family. We were well watered, fed, and loved. We discovered the beauty of daily ‘wine time’ and waking up when your body says it is time instead of the alarm clock.

It was relaxing.

It was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries and prepare for the stress and chaos of the daily life I was returning to.

Unfortunately, vacations are a matter of time and money.  Both these items are at a premium for me and heavily budgeted. It is hard for me to part with either.  So I started thinking about the ways to get that relaxing feeling and recharge when I can’t go on vacation.

These are some things that work for me.

Meditation

Meditation has been scientifically proven to aid us in many areas. It can help with stress reduction, concentration, and even easing anxiety.  All of which is helpful for the relaxing and recharging we’ve been discussing.

Start with a micro-meditation. Just 20 breaths. Click To Tweet

There are a lot of ways to meditate and you don’t have start whole hog.  You can start with a micro-meditation.  Take 20 deep breaths. In. Out. Count them.  Concentrate on only those 20 breaths. It will take less than 2 minutes.

It’s amazing what those 20 breaths can do.

I find this meditation particularly helpful when I find myself getting frazzled.  It helps bring me back to a calmer, easier state.

Lunch Breaks

This one was kind of life changing for me. I work from home and it was hard to separate myself from the work.  A lunch break made all the difference in how well my work was going.

Whether you work for someone else or yourself, get in the habit of taking a lunch break.  All work and no play makes Jane a very stressed woman.  The small habit of taking 30-60 minutes to yourself will not only help you dial down the stress but it will actually help you be more productive when you get back to work.

Funny how that works…take a break…be more efficient.  No one starts off their day and decides they are going to spin their wheels.  Yet it is exactly what we do when we don’t take that break.  Turns out that it is good for you and your employer.

Double points if you are self-employed!

Nap

Many of us can’t do this on a daily basis (good for you if you can!).  Maybe we can work it in every week or even every once in a while.  Maybe you can do the power nap thing where you just close your eyes for 20 minutes.  Or maybe you do better with a long nap.  Pick what is best for you and indulge when you can.

It is a nice treat to give yourself.  In some instances, you may need to recruit some help.  Maybe a spouse or a friend can remove distractions (usually kids) from your house in order to get a chance to relax.  Then one day you can return the favor.

A Cup of Tea

Maybe for you it is a cup of coffee.  Or a soda.  Or a piece of chocolate.  Whatever poison you choose.  Take the time to drink your beverage or eat your sweet. Do nothing but that.  Mindfully eat or drink for that few minutes and decompress.

A Relaxing Hobby

Whatever it is that relaxes you, do it.  Bird watching.  Reading. Playing Cards. Gardening.  Mine is coloring (I was doing it before it was cool, and still a little ticked at myself that I didn’t think of marketing adult coloring books).

Whatever you choose, make sure it gets you to your ‘zen place’.

Walks

Many people enjoy the rush of endorphins that they get from exercising.  Walking will get you a lower level dose but it is a safe form of exercise for most people.  You can even combine some of that walking with meditation and do double duty.  It is also good for your health. You need to get your steps in!

Many benefits have been found to spending time in nature.  The Japanese have a form of therapy known as forest bathing.  Funny name, funny concept but apparently very beneficial. Here again, is another good place to do double duty.

Laid Back time with friends

Being with friends in a laid back atmosphere can also reduce stress and recharge.  I would suggest that if you are trying to go with the vacation type vibe that you pick the right friends.  Invite the ones that make you laugh and have fun.  Avoid the ‘Debbie Downers’ and the ‘one-uppers’ (every group has them).

Once you’ve picked the right friends then choose an activity that’s preferably casual.  Avoid the fancy dinner party and think take out instead.  Beer around the fire or wine on the patio works well too.  You are looking to create an environment where you can all be yourselves.

Do Nothing Day

I am a huge proponent of Do Nothing Day.  I have written about it not once, but twice.  It is a day where you get to disconnect from your daily grind and your overloaded schedule.  In fact, you put it on your schedule so that you don’t forget to do nothing.

It’s like a mini vacation without having to shower or get out of your pajamas.

Day Trip

No, not the illicit substance type trip.  Just a short vacation where you take a day out of your life to take a mini vacation.  No hotel reservations, not too far away, nothing elaborate.  Just a little exploring and dinner somewhere not in your home!

Let people wait on you.  It’s not hard to justify in the interest of self-care.

So now it is your turn to share:  How do you relax when you can’t go on vacation?

Photo Credit:  Jason Cartwright