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I was prompted to recall a time when I felt gut-wrenching nervousness.  And as I start to gear up for the 3rd (!) Kamloops Timeraiser it is easy to recall such a situation.

When I heard about the Timeraiser – an event created by Framework in Toronto 11 years ago – I thought to myself: ‘this has to come Kamloops’.  After pursuing the Timeraiser organization for over a year to bring their event to Kamloops, they eventually decided they wouldn’t bring here – but I could host it myself.  Awesome – I love hosting parties, but for this particular event I needed money and support.

chequeSo after socializing the idea and finding support, the day actually came when my first sponsor, NRI Distribution, sent me a $5000 sponsorship cheque.

Fear, disbelief, apprehension, insecurity – all welled up inside me.  Are they crazy putting this much faith in me to pull this off?  Can I pull this off?  What I do next?  How do I pay him back if I screw up?  Eek!

But whenever I am under pressure – life becomes clearer…  Just focus on the next step.  I can’t say I felt optimistic or that the fear disappeared, but I knew that if I just kept doing the right steps one after the other I would get the job done.

And I did!  And at some point in the following weeks I started to get excited knowing it would work out.  Those feelings of fear changed to pride, gratitude, excitement, enthusiasm and relief!

I keep track of ideas for blog posts to write a later date.  The fun part is when I go back at look the idea, I often surprise myself with how they insightful they are.  But I don’t remember coming up with it!

This is one of those.

Passengers in a cab watch one of Brazil

Photo courtesy of National Geographic by John Stanmeyer

I read a National Geographic article about hot the birth rate in Brazil has lowered significantly in one generation (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/09/girl-power/gorney-text).  One of the theories is that the TV novelas (like soap operas) are influencing the women to have fewer children.

The article points to a variety of other reasons as well, but this one reason sparked something in me.

People should use public figures and movies to create social change – not laws.  Maybe we already do that – but the topics that are highlighted are changing society in the wrong way (i.e. entertainment magazine constantly highlighting volatile relationships of the rich and famous).  And I am not suggesting that censor laws be created that dictate what messages are produced – but rather each individual find a way to highlight the message they want to see repeated in society.

And politicians need to be advocates, gather weight and influence society – without imposing.  Imagination and understanding need to be the tools of the trade.  Not criticism and fear.  I don’t really understand or get wrapped up in US politics, but I do like Obama.  And I like him for these exact reasons – when he speaks, he exudes empathy and influence.  I recognize there are speech writers and attacks ads in his campaign, but at face value he is a captivating person who will change the world for the better.

There are lots of people out there who do exactly what I am talking about.  http://www.thedailylove.com and http://www.Ashoka.org would be two examples that I am drawn to of people/organizations who use all their genius to create positive momentum.

And once you start focusing on that kind of media, your view of the world starts to change.  So how can we make amazing futures, great role models, fulfilling paths to success the stuff we see in the supermarket checkout?  What if that was the mainstream news.  What if the politicians lauded each others accomplishments and worked to learn from each other.  What if the next hit reality show showed how successful marriages made it work?  Or how creative people have influenced changes in the system?  If it became the ‘must see’ show, book and movie – what would change in our society?

Encouragement and positive feedback are very powerful.  I didn’t realize the truth in this until recently.

I dabbled with the idea of quitting my corporate job of 9 years for a couple of years, and really considered it for 8 months.  But it wasn’t until I hired someone that said “you can do it” that I believed I could do it.

I find that when you share and idea, opinion, dream – whatever, just something different.  Most people will: play devil’s advocate (which sounds an awful lot like disagreement), be interested and politely converse or reply with something related from their mind.  Not often do you hear “Great idea!  Have you thought about what you need to do make it happen?”  You know, really dig in and convey enthusiasm about your strengths, direction, goals.

As a parent I grapple with this.  I find myself nagging more often than not.  And when I do feel like I am engaged in their thoughts I don’t get the instant ‘thanks mom’ verification I expected.  Regardless, I am making a concerted effort to notice the ideas and dreams and make sure I don’t instantly respond with something thoughtless.

At some point, most people reach a level of confidence that they don’t need or even appreciate encouragement.  But I think every time you look outside your comfort zone there is a gap – bigger in some people than others – that needs a bridge to get to the other side.

 

Chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

 

Recently I heard the phrase – ‘…do what makes your eyes sparkle’.  I can picture a content face, a smirk and the laugh lines around sparkling eyes.

It was such a  vivid image I wanted it to stay.  How can I have that feeling all the time?

Eyes don’t sparkle while watching tv – unless you are laughing.   Eyes don’t sparkle when you are commuting in your car – unless you have friend driving and you are telling he how cool your weekend will be.  Eyes don’t sparkle when you are stressed and concentrating – until the magical solution comes together.

How can I see these opportunities all the time.  At least everyday – I know they are there.  Last night my eyes sparkled at freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  Today, when I finished my run I felt light and loose, but I don’t think I was sparkling.

So here is my challenge to myself.  I will find one thing everyday that sparkles and I will smile, and I will write it down.  7 days, 7 diamonds.  I will report back.

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