Independence Day 2018. Sitting in the hard wooden pews with distinct 90 degree angles is a reminder that this place remains the same. The pews are incredibly hard and uncomfortable and It -Is – Hot – stifling hot in the 90+ degree heat. There is no air conditioning in Christ Church. This place where freedom fighters sat. Signers of the Declaration of Independence – all sat in the same stiff pews in the same Philadelphia summer heat.
Listening to the patriotic songs blasting from the majestic pipe organ in the back of the church while transfixed at the site of the baptismal in front of the church. The same baptismal still used, where once William Penn was so humbly anointed with water in the presence of his fellow congregants. It all makes you forget the stiffness in your body and the moisture running down your face…while you sit in this lap of history.
All while musing…was I sitting in the same exact place that once George Washington, Betsy Ross or Benjamin Franklin sat?? Just some of the notable members of this church…looking at the same baptismal their fellow congregants were blessed in?
How much peace and sanctuary this place must have given them during their battles to change history.
It is impossible to be in this place and not be overwhelmed by the history. And especially on the 4th of July in Old City, Philadelphia.
While walking through the cobblestone street that led away, I was overcome by how much sacrifice was made here for freedoms we enjoy today. Wanting to not let this magical hour drift away unmarked by some sort of enlightenment I started to count all of the freedoms I am privileged to enjoy. And an unusual one drifted in and out of my emotional wanderings….
My freedom to be a business owner. A female business owner. The freedom to run my business in the way I see best fit. To employ and do business with people I want to entrust. To provide services to the community at large and to provide employment and benefits to my staff as I see fit. To build wealth for the business and for individuals and to be philanthropic where my heart leads.
Yes, there are taxes to be paid and regulations to be followed. But all seem so insignificant when considering where it all started. And I opt to not forget all the
Over the weekend I was stuck by how many people forwarded me an article of a young teenager signing with a Deaf/Blind gentleman during a cross country flight. She’s been interviewed multiple times and lauded publicly for aiding this gentlemen as he traveled. The articles also mention the kindness of others in their attempt to communicate the needs/wants of this gentleman while in flight. All great, all ‘feel good’ right?
Well, maybe …but… ironically this week I’ve also seen multiple Facebook posts of another young man helping an elderly lady navigate stairs. Video of his kind act also went viral and he’s been rewarded by strangers far and wide for his random act of helping.
I understand that amidst what seems a world of hate, we crave those stories of ‘unique kindness’ as one reporter quipped. But … when should an act of one human being helping another be unique? I also worry that, (in the case of the Deaf/Blind man), communicating with another person is being viewed as an act of kindness. It is a wonderful sign of respect to another culture and people and incredibly rewarding to the person learning the language. However labeling it a ‘kindness’ feels a bit patronizing.
Is the world so harsh that we must pull out our cell phones to savor moments of what should just be appropriate behavior? And what message does that send to our children? That acts of kindness are not the norm and/or expected, or simply part of being a decent person? But if you are kind and gracious and look out for others you should be lauded and/or rewarded? Or maybe worse sending the message that it even makes you somehow odd and different?…
Perhaps it’s just the world we now live in. So void of just being respectable that others feel the need to reward or record you when you’re just being human-to-human decent.Sad that kindness should ever be thought of as ‘unique’….
The importance of holidays.
Any budding entrepreneur will tell you that owning a business is a 24/7 job. And it truly is. Especially the first years of building a business.
However, it is easy to forget that while we need to be gaining customers, making payroll and taking care of business, we also need to not neglect our personal lives. Holidays come once a year. Time with family and friends cannot be ‘made up’ at a later date.
So take time this holiday weekend. Time away from your business. Time to savor those laughs, hugs, picnics with loved ones. You cannot ever get those missed moments back.
And I promise. Your business will still be there when you return…..
It seems business websites, publications and speakers are all about leadership. “How to lead…” …”What makes a great leader?” …. “An effective leader”…and so on….and so on.
I find it interesting that in 15 years of owning my business the prevailing thought isn’t “How do I lead today?..” and although I’m sure that makes many experts cringe..I prefer to think of our organization as ‘horizontal’ and not one with me at the top and then a hierarchy of who comes next…and next and next putting someone at the bottom of a long list of organizational members.
I have been contemplating a new bicycle as nicer weather approaches and during my online search have encountered many types of bikes available. From touring bikes to road bikes to trail bikes. And then I came across a picture of a ridiculously looking multi passenger bike where everyone is in a circle facing each other, all pedaling towards each other, but independently. And as it looks as if they would make no progress in any forward direction, the bike does move with incredible accuracy and in a straight line.
There is no clear leader. There are only individual members, all pedaling with different strengths and at different paces. And as one gets tired, the others pick up the slack. If one jumps off, the bike still moves forward. The momentum happens together. And although there may be a leader in the mix, it is not obvious to the outsider.
It is just the best picture painted of my business. Right or wrong by experts definitions, it works. It has worked and I believe it will moving forward. Am I the President of EIS? Do I sign the paychecks and make final decisions? Yes, but the force that moves us forward, the team that picks up the slack for each other..that is what drives us. That is more important to the business than solely myself as a leader.
I can never move that bicycle on my own. Neither can each team member. However momentum is constant as we’re all facing each other, having each others backs and working together. Maybe a new thought surrounding all the leadership buzz…….focusing on the team and not the leader can truly move you ahead.
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In my family there is no need to remind us that holidays are not always a happy time for people. I am married to a psychotherapist, my sister and my daughter-in-law are also in the field of psychology. This is their busiest time of year. Days often end with them walking in the door, hearts heavy. Dealing with clients that are stressed to the max, suicide attempts, drug and alcohol abuse. Family struggles. All brought to a crescendo around the holidays.
In business, we need to also be aware of what is happening around us. Are our employees dealing with added stressors? The customers on the other end of the phone? Our vendors?
Last week I vented on my Facebook wall … “the lady at Wegmans yelled at me for going to the self check-out with more than 20 items…” …and childishly lamented that I like to pack my own…
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My Facebook post from last October 20th – 2016…
Today there was a walk to bring attention to the fight against breast cancer. A flood of pink in downtown. Including all the balloons, the banners, the hollering and celebrating. Every year I am asked to walk. To speak, to contribute, to be part of the ‘fight?’… I was even once chastised by a famous woman I met at a local event and somehow knew I was a cancer survivor. She demanded to know what organizations I was involved, what was ‘I’ doing to be a part of this pink October movement? I responded… “Walking alone”
I admit it. I hate October. I hate it because it’s breast cancer awareness month. You can’t hide from it. It’s everywhere. Pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, pink parades – even watching a football game – pink armbands, pink hats, pink mouth guards! …pink, pink, pink!
I am torn between feeling guilty that I have survived so many years and I should somehow be telling my story. And the awful feeling that I can’t get away from it – especially in October. I don’t need pink to be reminded. I only need to look in the mirror every morning. I don’t want to think about it any more than I have to and I don’t want to live my life as a role model of what a survivor should look like. It was tough enough just getting through it at the time.
And I feel like a terrible person because I think I should feel differently.
I AM however, incredibly grateful for all those that do march – do research – do bring awareness to a horrifying disease that needs to be eradicated. My business regularly gives money to Sloan Kettering for cancer research. Personally I give to local organizations. But for some of us – we choose to be private about our connection to cancer. We choose to not join the parades, but we still are walking.
On a quiet Sunday morning I made my way to my private ‘parade’ – and as I walked past the pink posters and donation jars at my gym on my way to my treadmill – I saw the wave of pink walk by the front windows. For every one of those people in that crowd, I thought. There are 100 of us wanting to just live. Wanting privacy. Wanting to somehow keep it in the past.
Appreciating those who may need to walk collectively.
For me…. I need to be walking alone.
Definitely yesterday’s news, but worth repeating – and looking into as people’s lives were put in danger. I am speaking of the “Interpreter” – used in a press conference to warn people to evacuate in Manatee County during Hurricane Irma.
The video attached shows the “Interpreter” and the message he was actually signing. No further explanation needed. The fact that there were certified Interpreters available and reportedly offered by a local agency removes any excuse for using this employee as an Interpreter for such critical information.
It happens every day – it should never happen. …