Make a Difference Monday, Week 52: Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

Professional Guidance CardsWeek 52: Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

As if to put a (very appropriate) punctuation mark at the end of this 52-week odyssey, the ultimate guide to spiritual responsibility is contained in the final Professional Guidance Card  of the year: Let your conscience be your guide.

Challenges to our personal integrity present themselves every day. When a cashier gives you too much change, is that an unexpected gift from the Universe? Or a reminder to check in with your moral compass? Getting into the habit of listening to that “still small voice” within on small matters will lead to doing the right thing on other, larger issues.

And what a wonderful world it would be if we could all count on one another to consistently do the right thing in all our interactions.

I wish you a New Year filled with peace, harmony and well-being – and that you are able to pass that along to everyone you meet along the way.

This week’s intention:

I will not let the noise of a busy life and the desire for expediency overpower that still small voice within.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

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Make a Difference Monday, Week 51: Attitude Affects Abundance

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

Professional Guidance CardsWeek 51: Attitude Affects Abundance

There’s something to be said for believing your glass is always half full. Without knowing why some people have a naturally positive attitude while others seem to always be looking for the dark cloud in front of the silver lining, what I do know is this: The first group of people are a LOT happier!

Believing in abundance – that is, that there is enough to go around, enough for everyone – is a winning philosophy. When you’re not worried that there isn’t or won’t be enough, you can enjoy what you have and you can afford to be generous with others – even when you don’t have what is generally considered “a lot” from a material standpoint.

When you give, you put something positive out into the Universe, and it tends to come back to you in other ways – feeding the cycle of abundance!

Time spent in honest introspection is never wasted. If you find you fall into that second category of people who were not necessarily born positive, it will take some work to develop an attitude of abundance, but the alternative is to continue struggling with a feeling of scarcity and fear that holds you back from giving and thus prevents so much good coming back to you.

If you want something different for yourself in the New Year, maybe that’s the place to start.

This week’s intention:

Even on the darkest days of fear and self-doubt, I will remember all I have to be grateful for – especially the many little positives in my life that can so easily be taken for granted – and know that it is enough. I will remember to be generous with others – whether it be with time or service, a kind word or sharing my worldly goods. I will always have enough of something that someone else really needs.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

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Make a Difference Monday, Week 50: Keep a Spotlight on Yourself

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

Professional Guidance CardsWeek 50: Keep a Spotlight on Yourself

Boy, when I saw this week’s card, I thought, “That can’t be right!” Keep a spotlight on yourself?? On its face, it doesn’t sound like a strategy to be employed in the practice of ethical behavior in (or out of) the workplace.

But then I read beyond the headline, and it started to make sense. It refers to self-awareness and accountability, observing your own actions and changing course when necessary.

Nourishing your being so your roots grow strong.

Being aware of everything you do because your actions affect others.

Yeah. I can get behind that. 😉

This week’s intention:

Remember that self-awareness is not the same as self-absorption; and make awareness of your actions a priority so you are behaving in accordance with your values.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

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Make a Difference Monday, Week 49: Balance Your Work Life

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

Professional Guidance CardsWeek 49: Balance Your Work Life Between Personal and Spiritual Demands

Interestingly, this card came up on a day when my planned blog post was, “Live the Life You Have Imagined: You CAN Get There From Here” – subtitled “How a Jersey Girl Became a Maine-iac and Found Happiness Working in the Cloud” – a post about my journey from “stressed and struggling” to “serene and successful” business owner.

The key to that transformation was achieving balance.

When I moved to a Maine island, it was a conscious decision to change my life. I wasn’t running from anything, but rather to a place where I knew my heart, mind and spirit were always in balance.

It wasn’t an overnight transformation, mind you. I spent a lot of time and effort figuring out how to arrange my business to allow me to work from anywhere – which I now do. Sometimes that means from my sofa or my deck, other times from a seaside perch while my husband photographs gulls or crashing surf. I never put off medical appointments any more or end up running around like a crazy person before a holiday because “work kept me busy until the last minute.” And, frankly, there are many days I simply take the afternoon off and do nothing – nothing but breath the salt-and-pine air, walk around a lake or sit in a gazebo by the bay and let my thoughts wander. It’s good for you – and it’s good for your business to refresh yourself with the things that nourish your soul!

Whatever it is that nourishes you, I urge you to make time for it in your life, at least several times a week.

This week’s intention:

I will keep in mind the need for rest, play, entertainment, hobbies, interests and interaction with nature and make time each and every day to pursue at least one of these other parts of myself, for I know these things refresh and reinvigorate me and lead to greater clarity, creativity and calm.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

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Make a Difference Monday, Week 48: Empowering Others Empowers You

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

Professional Guidance CardsWeek 48: Empowering Others Empowers You

Most business people – owners, managers, sales professionals – probably consider themselves to be competitive. And competing ideas and strategies can be a very good thing for business as a whole.

It’s when we compete with another human being by trying to crush them emotionally or destroy their reputation that we end up on the wrong side of the professional ethics argument. No matter how long I am in business or how many different types of people I am exposed to, I am still shocked when a person reveals him- or herself to be so viciously competitive that they are willing to destroy another human being to achieve their ends.

The alternative, of course, is the mature realization that another’s talents and ideas are no threat to you, that our unique gifts allow there to be collaboration and win-win scenarios and mutual success. And out of that realization comes the ability – in fact, the willingness – to empower others with encouragement, a kind word, or a request for their input or feedback. Making someone else feel good makes you feel good, too.

This week’s intention:

I am aware that empowering others is a gratifying act that nourishes my soul, and I will look for ways in all of my business dealings and communications to give to others without restrictions or agendas.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

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Make a Difference Monday, Week 47: The Tongue Has Power – Don’t Abuse It

My thoughts, based on the Professional Guidance Cards:

The Tongue Has Power - Don't Abuse ItWeek 47: The Tongue Has Power – Don’t Abuse It

It is said that an unkind word can cut like a knife. In the workplace, as in the rest of your life, it is easy to fall into negative chatter about others. It’s not necessary that you start it, just that you participate in it, in order to fall short of your highest and best self. I remember, years ago, remaining silent as a good friend and colleague’s professional reputation was being called into question by some gossipy people at a trade organization meeting. To this day, I cringe when I think of what I didn’t do. And I made a vow to myself immediately after that I would never let that happen again.

There are three ways to go when you find yourself in a situation where someone is being attacked. You can come right out and defend the individual. You can directly say that the talk is making you uncomfortable. Or you can walk away from the situation, indicating in a more subtle way that you will not be a participant in trashing someone else. While the third option is not as empowering as the first two, it should be your absolute baseline. It’s the least I should have done in the situation I found myself in, and I still regret it.

This week’s intention:

As an empathetic person, I will not only not speak ill of another but will also encourage others to refrain from doing so. I know that my true character is revealed by how I behave when in a situation that makes me uncomfortable; therefore, I will follow my better instincts and rise to my highest and best self, refusing to be a part of this kind of negative and destructive behavior.

What is your intention this week, in keeping with this theme?

Please comment here and also add to the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MakeADifferenceMonday

Here’s more information on Make a Difference Monday