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2015-A New Year-A New Outlook
Each year, a heartwarming rendition of Auld Lange Syne announces the arrival of a New Year. Celebrations are enhanced with the infamous Ball Drop in Timesquare, midnight kisses, streamers, balloons, resolutions and, of course, a toast to the New Year.
2014 has been a tough year for many people. 2014, not unlike the past several years have been, to say the least, difficult. 2014 has tried and tested our Faith and resolve as a Country, a State, a City and a Community. Many Americans have lost homes, jobs, loved ones and, HOPE. The ongoing economic crisis combined with foreign wars, homegrown violence and the current political bickering has somehow instilled a defeatist mentality among many.
Enough is enough! Have we forgotten who we are as Americans? The evidence is clear, 2015 requires much more than a resolution; 2015 is an invitation for restoration.
To put it bluntly, NOW is the time to….well….pull up our boot straps and wade through the muck to clean up a big mess. We must work from the inside out as restoration takes a tremendous amount of effort, diligence and compassion. To begin anew, a return to the basics is mandatory.
It is imperative to narrow our focus and goals. A large, looming overall picture can distort the immediate task at hand. Separating each challenge into an attainable objective can help motivate, inspire and encourage others to participate and labor together to meet defined expectations. As each challenge is realized, enthusiasm and excitement become a driving force to escalate the pursuit toward the next obstacle.
Are you aware that Faith fosters Hope and Hope instills Faith? Hope, by the way, is contagious and once Hope spreads and Faith takes root, miracles begin to occur.
Once we begin to make a concerted effort to identify problems, replace blame with repair and focus on priorities....in respective order; the outcome can be significant. We must begin at the beginning to search, repair and change in the following order, not the reverse. Change doesn't begin with everyone else....it begins with us, each of us, individually!
Strength is gained by numbers. Through extending the offer of assistance to our neighbor, a collaborative effort is formed. One good deed promotes another and together everyone is inspired to move forward. The combined force of a neighborhood initiative expands throughout the local community, positively impacts our city, state, country and eventually our world.
This sounds lofty but can be accomplished.
So…where do we start?
Begin by changing attitudes and actions.
If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.
Yes, your mother was right! This great advice is still applicable today; particularly when using social networking sites. Intelligent disagreement is fine; however, name calling, derogatory and disrespectful comments should be removed and not tolerated. Civility is in short supply these days.
Determine to make a difference in 2015
Often, we associate making a difference with financial contributions. While this can help, there are other ways to make a difference: Volunteer, tutor, provide a meal to someone who is sick, shop for someone who is housebound, offer a smile to lift another’s spirits, a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen. Recognize your strengths and attributes and apply them to meet a need.
COMMON COURTESY is the theme for 2015
Particularly with shopping, driving, and telephone etiquette.
Refrain from yelling at a cashier who is not moving fast enough for your comfort or makes a mistake. Try offering words of encouragement; it will make their day and yours, a little bit brighter.
Obey the speed limit. Don’t ride the bumper of the car ahead of you. Quit cursing under your breath as you dart in front of a car to pass, only to wind up at a red light with the car you passed. Leave a little bit earlier, enjoy the travel and don’t be in such a rush, life is too short. In addition, you may just lower your blood pressure and avoid an accident as well.
No one likes having to press a thousand buttons to speak with a “representative”, however, that representative should not have to be subjected to verbal abuse because of a situation. You can draw many more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Keep in mind, that a customer service representative cannot override written policy. When necessary, ask to speak to a supervisor that may be able to assist you, not demand to speak to someone that, “knows what they are doing.”
ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN CHANGE
Be part of a solution. If something needs changing, help to change it. Crowd the room at city meetings and town halls to voice your opinion on local legislation. Be informed about the issues that your elected officials are supporting, voice your opposition and sign petitions to make your voice heard!
CORPORATE AMERICA – CEO’S, CFO’S, DIRECTORS
Offer incentives to loyal customers rather than try to gouge them for yet another nickel. Make it a 2015 policy to return to genuine customer service. It is important to remember that your customers are human and that every situation is different. Although, guidelines and policies must be established, take the time to adequately train your employees (and value them as well). Allow your employees to make decisions rather than escalate a situation to a “supervisor”. This method leaves a very bad impression of your company. In today’s volatile economy, a loyal customer is a walking billboard and it costs you NOTHING to take advantage of it!
2015 will, of course, launch an onslaught avalanche of political back biting, accusations and commercials.....oh, the deluge of commercials that simply point fingers, discredit and take statements out of context about an opponent, rather than express ideas of strength as to why we should vote for YOU, the candidate. The time has arrived for candidates, and those that support them, to speak factually about their experience, goals, plans and course of action. A qualified politician should be elected based on their ability to perform the job; not because they can pick apart what is wrong. Successful business executives never present a problem and assign blame; they present a problem and offer a solution. Politicians: We want to know why voting for YOU will be in our best interest? Our country can no longer afford to accept the tactic of voting for someone simply to vote another out. As voters, we can make politicians accountable for their campaign. When we use our voices to insist that politicians stay on topic, cover the issues and forgo personal attacks, our system will improve.
Personal resolutions for self improvement are fun and exiting, but this year, let 2015 be the year we dedicate to restoration. Restoration that benefits others more than concentrating on ourselves. Change begins on a small scale, one kindness at a time. Cliché…probably; realistic….maybe; feasible….absolutely. Are you with me? Happy New Year!!!!!