deception pass Washington

Category: Social Responsbility Page 1 of 3

Signs of Progress

Does litter bother you? When you see it in parks, especially when there are plenty of trash cans around? Does it seem like people would rather toss their trash out the window as they drive down the road rather than wait till they find a trash can? Do you shrug it off as – they have road cleanup crews for that, why bother?

I recall as a teenager when my parents and I moved to the Phoenix area and I could see the great difference attitude makes. I grew up in Oregon, which was heavily invested in recycling, especially bottles. When i got to Phoenix I was appalled at the lack of concern. It was personal because when I rode my bike on the streets the stretches of broken glass were a really up close hazard to me and my tires.

Fortunately many people have gotten personally involved in cleanup thorough adopting a street to regularly do trash pickups. Our local John Denver group did a 2-mile stretch up north for a while. One of the local Toastmasters clubs does it near where I live. And there is an Islamic Center that has adopted another stretch of road.

It isn’t hard to pick up. Yes, you should be careful, both about where you are and also use gloves or some kind of pickup tool. You should plan what type of bag or container you will use for collecting and where you will be dumping it. But every little bit helps and it doesn’t cost much in terms of time and effort. That along with recycling, composting, and just buying less stuff will go a long way to reducing the amount of garbage that goes to the landfills eventually. This is another of those ‘little things’ you can do.

Giving Back to the Community

Have you ever seen the chaos and trouble in our world and felt like what do I have to give, what can I do? Have you felt that change only comes from big action and you don’t see yourself capable of that? It reminds me of a story where a man saw a boy tossing stranded starfish into the ocean. He told the boy “why are you doing that? It won’t make a difference to all these starfish – there are too many”. The boy replied as he was carrying another starfish to the water “It does to this one.

Remember that there are plenty of little actions we can do, that if we all do them, will make a huge difference in our world. I want to share with you this week some of those small actions that I have done and encourage you to do as well.

The first one today is donating blood. You don’t like needles? Neither do I. I look away when the needle goes in. You worry that you might faint or be dizzy after donating blood or get sick. I’m not saying that those things might not occasionally happen, though they have never happened to me in all the years I have been a blood donor. But there are several things you can do to mitigate the possibility of this happening.

Drink plenty of water, not just on the day of donation, but during the week before. It is something that we all need to do – hydration is beneficial to general health. Eat a good meal before and a good meal after giving blood so that your body is in good condition. Eating a good meal after helps your body build back better. Donors are encouraged to spend 10-15 minutes resting and having some juice and snacks after donation.

You might think you have some condition that would make you ineligible to donate, but you need to read up and make sure. There are some things, like a tattoo or body piercing, where you will have to wait a few months after to donate. There are some health issues that don’t result in waiting. I thought after I started taking medication for high blood pressure that I couldn’t donate, but after reading the guidelines I learned that I was mistaken. The same is true of diabetes.

You might wonder, why should I donate? For one thing, there is a high need for whole blood donations for surgery, auto accidents, and treatment of certain health conditions – like sickle cell anemia. There is a need for platelet donations and plasma, to treat other health conditions and situations. Your body can replace the donated blood over time and certain intervals are given for blood donation – like 8 weeks for whole blood for instance. I donate because there is a great need and I believe it is something I can do. I am in great health, as my dad was, and I am a blood donor like him.

If you try it and it doesn’t work for you- you feel nervous, get sick, etc, then at least you have tried. There may be another small action that is more suited to you. I don’t believe that blood donation is for everyone. I just believe that there are small actions we all can take to give back to our community and all of us together in our small ways can make a big difference in our world.

For more information on blood donation if you are in the Pacific Northwest you can contact Bloodworks Northwest and if you live elsewhere you can google blood donation or contact the American Red Cross. Tune in tomorrow for another small action.

Ignite Connections

Leadership is all about making connections and making connections work. Connecting followers to each other to work in teams and connecting them to the best ideas so that together they can accomplish great things. To make progress they must disconnect from the failed ideas of the past and make new connections that will work for the future. They must always be looking forward, like a chess master thinking several moves ahead.

In order to do that, there are three important types of connections to be made. The first is to make personal connections to new endeavors, constantly challenging themselves, and stretching beyond their perceived boundaries. They need to grow so that they can help their followers grow. It’s the old tradition of the general leading his troops into battle. Never send someone else to do what you are not willing to do yourself.

Secondly, they must be willing to expand their sphere of acquaintances and friends. New people can challenge our thinking and encourage us to expand our range. Traveling to new places, trying new experiences, and meeting new people that may be very different from us.

And thirdly a leader must make new brain connections. It is said that challenging ourselves with new ideas and habits can help our brains develop new synaptic pathways. Here is a recent article that talks about ways to make those new connections: 10 Proven Ways To Grow Your Brain: Neurogenesis And Neuroplasticity | HuffPost Life

Leaders can’t be static or the work will not progress. Exploration and experimentation will lead to better expression and both leaders and followers will grow as a result. Eight years ago I joined Edmonds Toastmasters and it has helped me tremendously Edmonds Toastmaster Facebook

Finding Your Voice

What works for you? What resonates? Once you have determined to be proactive and not reactive, to be a voice and not just an echo, and you have found your Why? what do you do with it? How will you express your passions? What method will you use to voice that desire to change the world?

There are many ways to make an impact. Doctors Without Borders reach the world through medicine. Legal Aid Societies impact the world, and it’s underserved and disadvantaged communities through pro bono legal services. Chef Andre cooks in places of disaster and refugee camps. What would this world be without the impact of sculptures, painters, classical musicians of the past whose art we enjoy over a century or two or more since they lived and worked.

There are many ways to influence the world. It is up to you to examine yourself and your gifts and find a way that works for you. No gift is too small, no effort insignificant. The combined actions of many can achieve much. If you are unsure and perhaps shy find a group of like-minded individuals that you can collaborate with to build confidence and strength.

My voice right now is through writing and speaking. I will talk about that more in the next post, but enough here to say that i have found a group of people to collaborate with and learn from and it has helped me greatly over the past eight years in finding my voice. Don’t let anything stop you from finding that and giving voice to your particular way to enrich the world and folks around you. As a friend recently told me “just start and persist”.

Hybrid – the gift of covid

Years ago I read a book called “A Whack on the Side of the Head” by Roger von Oech. It was designed to get people thinking more creatively by challenging conventional thinking and often way out exercises. He followed it up several years later with another book “A Kick in the Seat of the Pants”, which I also read. His point was that we often get stuck in ruts and need forceful action to resume productive thought. Creative Think

I think the pandemic has been such a force. First of all, it forced us to confront doing things remotely. Many companies resisted until they were forced to change their procedures and working arrangements for health reasons. Many found that the remote processing worked. And then, as the pandemic is receding they were confronted with another dilemma. When and how do we return to in-person work, and should we?

This has led to the rise of hybrid working conditions, where either people alternate between working at home and working in the office. Or the workforce at a company is split – some working remotely and some working in the office. This has also happened in non-profits organizations such as Toastmasters, where meetings can be conducted in a hybrid manner. Some members meet in person and some connect remotely. hybrid harmony – Search (bing.com)

The challenges involved include extra equipment and setups to enhance the audio and visual connections between the two groups. Making it so that everyone feels a part of the whole is a challenge, both technically and socially. There have been clubs that had been doing that before the pandemic but not many and the future holds both promise and challenge.

In a similar fashion, companies are coming to terms with the hybrid. Many companies have had employees working from home for years. In my industry, health insurance, most of the claims processors worked from home. Provider reps spent most of their time out in the field visiting doctors and hospitals and were rarely in the office. Especially with the advent of imaging, there was no need to physically be in the office. Even meetings can easily be done by phone or videoconferencing.The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace – Tango (tangoanalytics.com)

But there has always been resistance, either from a desire to micromanage (lack of trust in employees), or lack of imagination (seeing how it could work),. Or just reliance on the “tried and true” methods and fear of change. But when covid hit many places were forced to change, at least temporarily. It remains to be seen how long the changes will last. Will companies see the fading of the pandemic as an excuse to rush back to the office and resume operations as before? Only time will tell. What do you think and how has the covid and hybrid setup affected you? Inquiring minds are eager to hear.

On the Lookout for Hugs

Hugs. We all miss them. It has been said that they are the thing that most people have missed during the pandemic. And what we most look forward to doing post-pandemic. With family and friends, there is no greater gesture of connection. I wasn’t always a hugger, being very shy, but I had good friends in my college days who did it so naturally that I learned to appreciate and crave it.

During the pandemic, my wife and I were fortunate to have each other close and so we were not deprived of this comfort. I feel sad for those, especially singles, who did not have someone close by to hug. We couldn’t get together with family so that we did miss, but at least we had each other.

Hugs are the cement of friendship and also a strong statement of support when dealing with someone in grief. A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. I think a hug is worth more, especially when you don’t have the words to say. People think they must share some comfort and are distressed when they can’t find the words to say. For someone in grief often no words are needed, except to say ‘i’m sorry, I care, I’m here.’ And being there includes a hug if the griever is comfortable with it. Nothing says I care more than a hug.

There are a lot of people who survived the pandemic but who had loved ones who didn’t. They will need those hugs. And don’t forget the lonely ones who had a hard time being isolated. Let’s be on the lookout for hugs needed.

Promote and Applaud Safe Spaces

Do you feel safe? Do you feel you can be yourself without fear of being judged for your appearance, your voice, all that makes up being you? There are many who do not. For many of us, we don’t have to fear being profiled. I am a male, straight WASP and in today’s society, I will never be profiled —- looked at as being out of the norm and suspicious or a danger to anyone. There will not be any laws that will attempt to restrict my freedoms. White, Anglo- Saxon Protestant, for those unfamiliar with the term. My ancestry dates back to the Mayflower, though no credit or special recognition is due me, since I had nothing to do with it.

But there are many, including members of my own family who do not have the same privileges and safety. Just on voting rights alone if the criteria at the time of the adoption of the Constitution were applied, none of the 30+ members of my family would be eligible for one reason or another.

I know plenty of friends and family members who don’t enjoy the same safety in society, due to differences that others would judge them for. Be it race, gender identity, ethnic background, etc, they are judged less than or seen as suspicious. I am incensed that this happens because to me they are family. And I am incensed that this discrimination is rampant in society because it is wrong. I am committed to personally being a safe space builder because everyone is entitled to equal treatment—not just under the law, but under common decency and common humanity.

And I want to highlight and applaud those even in the corporate world who recognize and support the building of safe spaces. We should all promote and applaud safe spaces. There is no place for discrimination and hatred in this world.

“I don’t care who started it…”

“But Mom, she started it!” ” I don’t care who started it, I’m finishing it!” So went the recollection of my sister Betty, remembering childhood sibling rivalries and her dismay that mom wouldn’t let her explain why she was right. She said it wasn’t until she had kids of her own that she understood. The sound of two little kids arguing incessantly would drive her crazy and she realized mom was wise to “end it.”

Imagine how having a different perspective can change your mind. Too often we get wrapped up in our own thoughts, our own assumptions, our own biases, that we fail to realize that we may be missing pieces of the picture. We see conflict as a in or lose, heroes and villains, black and white with no shades of gray. We want to stick up for our ‘friends’ oppose our ‘enemies’  and get everyone to take sides since we are convinced ‘diplomacy’ won’t do any good.  

We are seeking quick and tidy solutions to messy conflicts that have existed and festered for decades if not hundreds of years.  In our shortsighted views and we all back differing sides and seek ‘victory’ and ‘justice’, the only things that are thriving are the morgues and graveyards. While the debates go on about who is right and who is wrong, death and disease inhabit the cities and villages. Men, women, and children suffer death from weapons in the sky and on the earth. Hospitals, homes, schools, and even places of worship are no refuge. Many have to flee their homes to foreign lands and even there, discrimination and abuse follow them.

Isn’t it time to echo my mom’s words “I don’t care who started it”? Isn’t it time to call for a time out so that we can listen to everyone and start building bridges that can bring us together and quit building walls that only divide us? Can we set aside our blaming, biases, and backgrounds in order to consider that we might not know it all?

I know that most of us have no ability to alter the outcomes of world conflict, except to petition our representatives. But I believe that our influence in the world starts right in our backyards. If we can promote peace where we are, perhaps that effort may serve to affect ever-widening spheres of community, just as a stone dropped into a pond sends ripples out in all directions.
It begins with you and it begins with me, and it starts right where we are. In times of conflict let us take a time out, speak up and say “I don’t care who started it…”

Photo by Prostock Studio

Be The Reason…

“You’re the reason society is messed up!” “You made me so angry that I lost control.” “I can’t help myself when people dress the way they do.”

You’ve heard things like this. The Blame Game. Blast someone else, for whatever reason, to excuse your bad behavior or for ‘society’s ‘ collapse into madness. Failing to open up to our own failings, our own mistakes is a cowardly but all too human trend. Seeking a simple solution to complex problems is an easy out. We need to stop that.

But we also need to do something else. We need to be the reason for good. We need to both recognize when others have been a positive influence on us and carry that forward to influence others. It doesn’t take a lot. Have you ever noticed reflective smiles? You smile at someone and they most often will smile back. And vice-versa. We often think that we have to do something big to make a difference, but the truth is, it is the little things that add up to a lot. Just taking notice of others struggling and offering help.

We also sometimes think we have to fix others, to eliminate their problems to make a difference. And there are times when solutions and answers are needed. But there are many more times that all they need is to know someone cares, someone will listen, someone sees them.

Always Ask Questions

What is one thing that is typical of children and teenagers especially? They ask questions. Often repeated questions, why’s? building upon why’s? seemingly without end. For some, it can get frustrating—imagine the rattled parent saying “just because!” But that is how we learn, not with memorizing for a test. Yes, we do need to learn a base level of knowledge, so as to not reinvent the proverbial wheel. But even then we have discovered in more recent years that a lot of what we thought we knew in that way really was quite different. And we found out there were a lot of things that we should have known were not communicated to us.

We confuse schooling with education. We think that if you spend enough time in the classroom being taught and passing tests, that you are educated. But if it is just memorized for a test it hasn’t been learned it will quickly fade from memory. But if you are taught to learn, to discover, to research for yourself, those things will stick with you for a lifetime.

In addition to asking questions, remember to explore. To take yourself out into the world and find answers or new truth by your own experience. Let your walking be your asking. Widen your perspective -—who knows you might end up with more questions.

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