Do Your Opponents Honor You?

Do Your Opponents Honor You?
In business and life, sports analogies can strike out (see how I did that?). For those who love sports, the connection makes perfect sense and can crystallize a concept like nothing else — especially the concept of teamwork. But for those who don’t love sports, a sports analogy can sound like a crying child at 3:30 a.m.

But some sports examples, like the one that follows, don’t follow the trend. It’s not about there being no “I” in team. And it doesn’t focus on the idea that the only difference between try and triumph is a little umph. It doesn’t even touch on the principle that if at first you don’t succeed, try stealing second.

This sports example is about character — the kind of character that not only impresses your teammates but impresses your arch-est-est rivals.

Mariano Rivera retires from major league baseball this year after playing 19 seasons for the New York Yankees. He is considered one of the greatest closing pitchers of all time with 652 career saves — more than any pitcher in history. He is a 13-time All-Star and a five-time World Series champion. He is a great athlete.

In a world where Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones represent some of the greatest athletes of our time and yet also some of the worst off-field behavior, Mariano Rivera represents a style of play on and off the field that earned him the respect of his fans and his peers.

Last week, there was an article in the newspaper describing the different ways that opposing teams were honoring Rivera during his last game in each of their respective stadiums. And who put on one of the best shows? The Yankees’ arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

While the Red Sox did poke fun at Rivera just a bit, their pregame ceremony was a touching tribute to an opponent who they greatly admired.

As you think about your life and your work, how do you think your opponents or competitors view you? Do they respect you for your work? Do they admire your behavior? Or do they see you as a someone who is only looking out for your own interests?

While Rivera certainly wanted to win, he did so without sacrificing the relationship with his opponents. You can do the same. Here are a few suggestions for gaining respect, rather than disdain, from your competitors, opponents and adversaries.

Do a good job. The foundational principle of my book, Do It Well, Make It Fun is to seek excellence in everything you do. Whether it’s your job, your role as a parent, or your participation in a community service group, do a good job in everything you take on. Everyone respects the integrity of a job well done.

Respect others. We should respect people, as fellow human beings, even when we disagree. Recently, I read with interest the online debate about Starbucks’ request that their customers not bring guns into their stores. The bottom line is that Starbucks has the right to request this of their customers just as those who don’t agree have the right to not visit a Starbucks. But, the angry comments on both sides of the issue were disrespectful. Can’t we disagree without being disagreeable?

Only do things you would want your grandmother to know about. I remember sitting in Sunday School one day and the teacher said, “How would you act if Jesus was in the room?” If you’re not a Christian, this question may not make sense but it stopped me dead in my tracks. Is your behavior the same when nobody’s looking or does it change? If we take the high road, we earn the respect of others while also respecting ourselves.

Have fun. It’s hard to dislike someone who is fun. A person with a playful attitude that seeks enjoyment even when things are tough is not only more resilient but their attitude is contagious. Zappos and Southwest Airlines are very successful and respected companies who have built a culture of being a fun place to work. Fun is profitable… in more ways than one.

Mariano Rivera set a high standard for his performance as a relief pitcher. But it seems that he also set a high standard for his life. As a result, thousands of people have honored him over the past few weeks — even those who are fans of the opposing team.

When we get to the end of our careers, or our lives for that matter, we expect to see our friends and colleagues there to honor us. But what a pleasant surprise it would be to see our rivals cheering us on as well.

For more by Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.

Hillary Sadlon Performed 22 Random Acts Of Kindness For Her 22nd Birthday (PHOTO)
Hillary Sadlon spent six months preparing for her 22nd birthday. But she wasn’t planning a party or coming up with a list of gifts. Instead, she was figuring out how to accomplish 22 random acts of kindness.

And when her birthday rolled around on July 23, the Seton Hall nursing student from Belvidere, N.J., along with her friend Meghan Cox and boyfriend Evan Reed, ended up doing just that.

“I wanted to do something big to show that helping others has a contagious rewarding feeling that comes with it,” Sadlon told the Setonian. “I wanted to make a difference, even if for one day.”

The goodwill tour took 10 hours to complete and went through five cities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to USA TODAY.

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“I appreciate everyone who is spreading my story,” Sadlon told The Huffington Post in an email, “because I want it to inspire others in a positive light.”

Random acts on the 22-year-old’s list ranged from quick, easy tasks — like paying someone’s toll or putting away grocery carts — to gestures like donating blood and leaving inspirational notes on cars.

“When we were done, we were in the best mood you could ever imagine. And that’s what I wanted for my birthday,” Sadlon told USA TODAY. “Your birthday is supposed to be a happy day. That’s what I was. Making someone else smile makes you want to smile.”

Happy belated birthday, Hillary!

Time to Change When the Time Is Right
There are certain moments in everyone’s life that I like to call “check marks.” These are those milestone moments and accomplishments, big achievements or birthdays that have a generous impact on our lives and how we learn and go forward. Thinking back on my different check marks in life, from my first day of kindergarten to my last class in college, I have tracked one big change in my life — and that is change. I am proud to be a constantly evolving product, still not ready to be sold but in the development stage. It’s sometimes hard to be 22 years old and remind yourself that you have so much more life ahead of you. I can’t wait for what’s ahead, especially to think about the amazing things I have already accomplished. It all goes to show that change is always a good thing when the timing is just right.

I was born in January 1991, right on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius (and I honestly don’t really know what that means). I like to consider myself a pop-culture baby because of the many coincidences that correspond with people of my age in different pop culture mediums. For example — I am the same age as Tommy Pickles and the rest of the Rugrats, High School Musical came out my freshman year of high school and yes, the last film, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was released in the fall of my senior year in New York City. Oh, and that Taylor Swift song “22,” about you know, being 22, came out the same year I turned 22. Because of these and many other little things, I’ve always been a strong believer in fate. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown further away from religion so its nice to have some little thing to still believe in. Keeping faith in fate has taught me a lot about time and knowing when it is the right time to do certain things, especially the big things in life that you sometimes want to avoid. I’ve had three of these struggles in my recent past and I’m happy to say that I finally figured out when the time was right for each to change.

The first problem was my weight. As a sophomore in college, I was 260 pounds and pretending to be happy. I was a somewhat successful theatre major at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago, an environment that felt familiar to my home in suburban New York. I was in a fraternity, started drinking alcohol and smoking weed for the first time ever and my natural habitats and genes got the best of me. When I came home for my spring break before I went on a service trip to Argentina, I looked in the mirror of the airplane bathroom and just felt sad for the person I saw. I knew I had to do something to change that feeling. I was lucky enough to have the resources and young enough to make a commitment to improve my health and appearance, without a job to worry about and parents to support my goal. I started with a nutritionist to get an overall basic knowledge of good and bad. I went to the gym almost every day for at least an hour and after a couple of weeks, the numbers began to drop. When I saw that the commitment to an overall lifestyle change and not just a temporary diet was working, I knew I had to completely change for good. I am happy to say that I now weigh 185 pounds, losing every inch in an organized and healthy way. I’ve done Pilates and personal training and just began training for my first half marathon! Every day is a struggle to maintain, but the improvements I made in my appearance and health helped me with the next most important change I needed to make in my life.

I’ve always known I was gay every since I knew what that word meant. Why I didn’t come out for 20-plus years? I’ll never really know. Coming out is a really confusing thing. It’s the one thing I think straight people just can’t really understand because they never have to do anything like that in their lives. Hopefully one day I won’t either. My best friend, Jon, said he told my other good friend Devon at the beginning of our junior year of college that after my drastic weight loss and new look, I would have the confidence to come out by the end of the year. Well, he was right. The first people I came out to were actually my parents (rare for this type of thing) in an email (maybe even more rare). I never thought they would disapprove of me in any way, but it’s a reaction you can truly never be prepared for. Not surprisingly, my entire family and friends have been nothing but supportive and kind to me about my sexuality, something I know not everyone gets in the world, or even this country. I’m lucky to be from and live in two states that recognize same-sex marriage, but 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, we are still fighting a civil rights issue in our country today. As a history minor in college, my focus was on 1960s America. I studied the civil rights era from all angles and I still can’t believe that things that like are still happening today and it’s happening to me. It’s simply stupid and dumb, but I believe that there are smart people in power like President Obama and the Pope who will make the necessary changes needed now for equality, because the time is right.

The most recent change is my life is probably the most exciting and scary at the same time. After a childhood in New York and college in Chicago, I moved out west to California, living my Hollywood dreams, West Hollywood to be exact. What’s next is still up in the air, but I knew the time was right for a big change in my life. Every next check mark I pass from now own will take me one step closer to my final goal. I have no idea how many long that will take but I think I’m putting myself on the right track. And I’m confident I’ll be able to figure out the appropriate time to make any more changes and check back again in a couple of years and well, take it from there.

For more by Jake Perlman, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.

You Have 60 Hours Worth Of Weekend. Here’s How To Make The Most Of It.
Want to make the most of your weekend? If this is the weekend you don’t want to let slip between your fingers, there are several steps you can take to make it count. How? According to Fast Company’s Laura Vanderkam, you can start by saving your chores for another date. Other tips? Get some exercise and leaving room in your schedule for beautiful spontaneity. Here’s what else to do to milk those hours for all they’re worth:

weekend yall

Image courtesy of American Express’ Tumblr, a resource that creates and curates content to inspire, motivate and advise people on a range of subjects–covering health/wellness, personal finance, DIY and the new definition of success. This specific Tumblr post was inspired by Laura Vanderkam via Fast Company.

Are You Intimidated by Yoga? Get Over It and Get Into the Practice
As a yoga studio owner, teacher and devoted student, I meet people all over town — in line at Trader Joe’s, at the nail salon (yes, I’m a yogi and I get mani/pedis), during dismissal at my kids’ school — and they all want to talk about yoga. “How do I get started?” “Can I do it?” “I really should do it.” “I’ve been meaning to come.” “I drive by all the time.” “What is yoga, anyway?”

Yoga is the fastest growing “fitness” trend in America, and it’s big business too. According to a 2012 “Yoga in America” study by Yoga Journal, 20.4 million Americans report that they practice yoga; that number is up by 29 percent from the magazine’s previous study in 2008. Nearly 14 million Americans say a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. Inc. com wrote that yoga is one of the best industries for starting a new business. (But let me set the record straight: This is not a business to make millions in.) CNN Money reported in 2011 that the yoga and Pilates studio scene is expected to hit $6.5 billion. Last week, Lululemon, the Vancouver-based yoga-wear line, projected more than $1.6 billion in revenue for 2013. Lulu’s “Wunder Under” pants retail for $92 (and if you’re reading this post, you probably have at least one pair of these Luon lovelies in your workout drawer right now).

All sorts of products and services, having nothing to do whatsoever with the practice of yoga (banks, cars, sodas, soaps, etc.), use images of people doing yoga in advertisements. Celebrities are routinely pictured by paparazzi coming out of classes, with yoga mats and almond milk lattes in hand. More star athletes are adding yoga to their training regimens (go Andre Ethier, go Dodgers!). Even the U.S. military is using yoga in boot camp (“om in the army”), so now we know it’s not just for sissies anymore. Today, we’re all about mindfulness, meditation and other ancient yogic practices.

And yet, while it appears that absolutely everyone is interested in trying yoga (Yoga Journal calls these folks “aspirational” yogis), many of us are still wary of it. Whether the challenge is physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual, people are still intimidated by yoga. This intimidation comes in many forms: Sometimes people will volunteer statements such as, “I’m intimidated by yoga,” or “Yoga intimidates me,” and “Yoga is intimidating.” Sometimes the fear is more veiled: “What? I can’t even touch my toes” (this is the one I hear most often), “I’m afraid I’ll look stupid,” “I’m injured — I can’t do yoga” (we get this one a lot, too), or “I hate yoga. I can’t still my mind.” “Yoga agitates me — it stresses me out.” Yeah.

Here’s what I tell them: “So what if you can’t touch your toes? That’s what yoga’s for. It helps increase flexibility.” If students are injured, there’s always some sort of Gentle, Therapeutic or Restorative practice for them. Indeed, some systems of yoga are specifically designed for those with injuries; people can learn methods and modifications for adapting postures, providing support and healing with yoga. Can’t still your mind? Neither can I. Most of us can’t. It’s the mind’s job to keep us busy and distracted. Our job is to practice quieting and questioning our thoughts; that’s why it’s called a “practice.”

I hope this helps some of you get over it. But, for the greater skeptics, here’s more info and insight about what you can anticipate and expect from your yoga studio, your teachers and your fellow yogis.

The Studio

First, I always recommend that people start their practice in a studio — not at home, not a gym, not in the rec room at the local public park. Beyond my own business interest, as a long time student and now a teacher, I believe it is best to learn in a setting that’s safe and supportive. Plenty has been written about the “dangers of yoga,” but yoga is safe and beneficial if it’s taught and practiced carefully and correctly. DVDs and inexperienced teachers are no substitute for the real thing; you want someone to guide you, someone who knows what they’re doing.

A good studio provides its students with many choices and options: a wide variety of offerings, different types of classes (for different ages, levels and abilities), multiple methods of payment (class packages, memberships, single classes, community classes at reduced rates etc.) A good studio is open and accessible to as many people who want to practice yoga as possible.

It’s fair to expect your studio to be welcoming, well-run (professional personnel vs., in L.A. for example, “work trade” volunteers wired into their iPhones, who’d rather be auditioning to be an extra in a sitcom than greeting and checking you into yoga class) and clean (floors are swept between classes; blankets are laundered frequently; equipment and props stored neatly; washrooms with refilled toilet paper dispensers).

Yoga is a personal practice. Most people practice local; that is, they choose a studio near their home, in their neighborhood. A place that feels familiar, comfortable and safe. You know, personal. A “home” studio often feels warmer, more inviting than a slick corporate yoga setting, especially for students new to yoga. Find a studio that feels good to you.

The Teachers

Your teachers should be well-trained, experienced in their craft and mature human beings. But beyond education and years on the job, there’s something even more important to look for in your teachers. Are they kind, patient and compassionate? Are they challenging you enough — or pushing too much? Can you relate to and connect with them? Do they care about you?

Training and experience is foremost; but there’s also a magic about certain teachers. Yes, teachers should teach the poses — how to get in and out of them safely, with good alignment; how to be in the poses with both stability and ease; how to best benefit from your Savasana, final resting pose. But the magic comes in between those moments. Great teachers guide us towards seeing, knowing and accepting ourselves. If they don’t, please feel free get off the floor, roll up your mat and run out the door!

Try different teachers — we all have our own different influences, styles and personalities. Get to know your teachers. Find the one or two that you feel most comfortable with, whom you can trust as a leader.

Yoga teachers (while it’s appropriate to expect them to be kind, caring and compassionate) are not therapists, doctors or best friends. They can’t solve all of our personal problems, they can’t diagnose disease. It’s not fair to expect your yoga teacher to answer texts in the middle of the night or meet you for tea after every class.

Your Fellow Yogis

Know that you are not alone. Not everyone in the room can touch their toes or still their mind. Not everyone can rock those fancy party trick poses. You are among friends; you are allies, yoga warriors.

Your classmates will not judge you; they’re not here to watch or criticize your yoga practice. We’re here for ourselves. To touch our own toes, do our yoga party tricks. To feel better, to have a happy, healthy meaningful life.

When you walk into a new studio, take a look at the people around you. Introduce yourself, say hello — and don’t be surprised if someone reaches out and welcomes you. Are they people you know, are they neighbors, do they work nearby, do they have kids at the same school? Do they go to the same manicure place? It’s not necessary that you share all of this in common, but it does create a sense of camaraderie.

There are many different definitions and purposes of yoga. Some of us practice to learn about ourselves, to be in bliss, to discover the meaning of consciousness itself — or to get a yoga butt (and into those size four lulu pants!). Whether your journey is physical, philosophical or spiritual, once you’re practicing regularly (we always recommend at least 2-3 times a week), you’ll find like-minded folks, who share similar values and interests. You’ll find community, a sense of belonging and being together. That can be powerful, especially in our world where we tend to be so disconnected from each other — and ourselves.

So fear not, aspirational yogis. Be intimidated no more. Go for it. Get into it. You’ll be welcomed by others — and you’ll welcome yourself.

For more by Julie Buckner, click here.

For more on yoga, click here.

Please DON’T Follow Me on Twitter
Over the summer I went up north to visit my son Randy and his family. He has two adorable little girls who are both under the age of two. Randy is a wonderful, very hands-on dad who really enjoys the simple things in life. While I was up there he did some cooking for us. One of the specialties of the Spelling household, not to mention one of my granddaughter Sage’s favorites, is Randy’s nachos. When Randy was done assembling the nachos that night, he proudly displayed his delicious creation. I of course was right there with my iPhone to capture the moment.

My next instinct was to Twitter the picture. Because Randy is so private and has made a point of deliberately stepping out of the Hollywood spotlight, I thought to ask him for permission first. It was an eye opening moment for me because Randy actually thanked me for asking him. I didn’t push any more buttons until I knew he was a hundred percent comfortable with the picture I was about to send into the Twittersphere.

When I was in high school my friends and I used to go to the drive-in for carhop service. These days I go Twitter Hopping online. It’s amazing what I find. Barbie has a very creative Twitter account where she tweets about doing yoga before she takes on her day. She also quotes her beau Ken complimenting the sparkle in her eyes. The United Nations General Assembly also has a live Twitter feed where world leaders can be heard speaking. This week, Iran’s newly elected President Hassan Rouhani Twittered about his country’s nuclear development program. Even my grandson Liam has a Twitter account. He has almost 50,000 followers, and he’s only seven.

I recently watched an interview with Jennifer Aniston where she discussed why she doesn’t use Twitter. She said half-jokingly that she’d spend most of her time defending herself and dispelling rumors. That is definitely one danger of being in the public eye. Another trap of all the Twittering, Instagramming and Facebooking we do is that in sharing those fun or precious moments we are not completely present in the moment when it’s happening.

It’s been more than once where I’ve been with friends at lunch or even more formal holiday meals and everyone is preoccupied with capturing the moment so they can post it. The flow of conversation is broken up by taking a “selfie.” Other times nobody is making eye contact because they’re busy photographing a festive table setting or uploading a jpeg of a beautiful appetizer. In those situations, I have to say I feel invisible even though I’m at a table full of people.

In our family, I have always been the keeper of the memories. Be it photo albums, scrapbooks or special mementos, all of it has always been my domain. This was my intention that lovely night with Randy and his family. The only difference is that these days my website is my live photo album. I really do think it’s fun to share those special moments but I’ve learned it’s also refreshing to live the moment while it’s happening without reaching for my phone.


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