Make A Ripple… And Change The World

A ripple. It’s not much by itself. But it’s amazing what happens as more and more ripples gather together: they cause change. Whether you’re trying to make the world a better place, become healthier or advance your career, small acts and minor decisions do matter.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

Enough ripples can become a tidal wave.

We love dramatic reveals after makeovers, watching contestants reshape their bodies on the Biggest Loser and seeing people use a financial windfall to do good. The only problem is that these situations aren’t relevant for 99% of us, so we feel helpless. 

But we can make a difference — in our own lives, our communities and even the world. The key is to make small changes and commit small acts. They’re sustainable, we can incorporate them into our lifestyles and they add up to make a big difference.

What if every person recycled one plastic bottle a month? Would our landfills be lighter? What if you replaced one sugary drink with a glass of water daily? Would you be healthier? Think about this: If you replace one 12 oz can of soda with water every day, you’d save 51,100 calories a year and lose about 15 pounds. (Source)

It goes beyond your physical health. Has someone made your day recently with a small act of kindness? Maybe they held the door when your hands were full or let you pull out during the busy commute home. Or perhaps a co-worker brought you a coffee one morning or a friend made a minor repair to your car. Isn’t the power of kindness amazing?

Apparently, it doesn’t just make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. More and more evidence points to kindness actually making us healthier in a number of ways.

At CCC, we’re big believers in the Pay It Forward movement and try to make a difference every day. We’re not making million dollar donations or ending poverty (we wish we could), but we are saving lives by donating platelets and volunteering our time and talents.

What small act are you committing to make a difference in your own life or your community? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below to help inspire others to join the movement and make our world a better place.

p.s. Need a reason to smile? Search the #PayItForward or #UNselfie hashtag on your favorite social platform to read about the good going on in the world. (Add your own story!)

Paying it forward,
Jaime

Let’s connect (and change the world):
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

 

33 Lessons in 33 Years

I recently came across a fun post, 32 Lessons from 32 Years of Life. The timing was perfect as I was pondering what to post about on my birthday (Yep, Pisces here.), and I had actually been toying with the idea of this type of post.

I hope you find these short lessons useful, and please feel free to chime in with your own at the end. So, here goes… lessons I’ve learned from 33 years of living:

1. You’re only as good as your word. Don’t break it. (Read: If You Say You’re Going To Do Something, Do It!)

2. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

kicking toward the finish line

Running makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your favorite activity?

3. Own your decisions. You are responsible for you — not anyone else.

4. Pay it forward. Karma has a way of reciprocating. You’ll  benefit more than those you help anyway. Trust me.

5. Make time for you. It’s not selfish; it’s necessary to recharge and be at your best.

6. Some “vices” are OK. If you really enjoy something, do it (unless it harms others).

7. Pay attention. You’ll learn so much by being observant, in business and in life.

8. Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the present. It’s the best show there is. If you’re constantly reliving things or worrying about future events, you’ll miss a lot of wonderful moments.

9. Learn to give — and receive — constructive criticism. (“This is terrible” or “you’re stupid” is not constructive.)

10. Listen, listen, listen. It will take you far in life.

11. Follow your gut. It’s your instinct for a reason.

12. Try new things — foods, adventures, travels. You never know what you’ll fall in love with. (Like ice skating, for me.)

ice skating

Snow, wind & ice. Lots of ice. Enjoying some time on the pond — the best part of winter.

13. Respect your values and beliefs. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, it’s OK to walk away. (Read: Gray Area: Do Ethics Still Have a Place in Business?)

14. An interview is a two-way conversation about an opportunity. Relax.

15. The devil IS in the details. Handle those and the rest will follow.

16. Do something special for yourself monthly, or more often if you can. Because you’re worth it. (Thanks, L’Oreal.)

17. Don’t project your bad day outward. Just because you’re in a bad mood, everyone else doesn’t have to be.

18. Social media’s great, but get social in real life too. (Read: Social Media’s Nice, But It’s Not IRL)

19. Embrace the mundane. It’s 80% of life. (Listen: This is Water, David Foster Wallace)

20. If you feel like getting dressed up to go to the store, go for it. Likewise, if you head out in workout gear, it’s no big deal. Life doesn’t hinge on what you’re wearing. (Granted, there are occasions where your dress is dictated by the occasion. Embrace it.)

21. Sometimes, you can buy happiness. Just don’t try it all the time.

22. Value those close to you. Don’t take them for granted, because some day they won’t be there.

Color Run Akron 2013

My sister-in-law, brother & I after Color Run Akron.

23. Make the extra effort. It usually pays off — even if no one’s watching.

24. Have a strong handshake, a genuine smile and a killer pair of earrings. (Gentlemen, I hear cuff links produce the same effect.)

25. Laugh a lot. It’s the best medicine, and you don’t need a prescription.

Yours truly, enjoying the moment

Yours truly, enjoying the moment.

26. Don’t waste too much time worrying. It really doesn’t change things.

27. Think through major decisions but don’t be afraid to act. Indecision can be paralyzing and leave you watching from the sidelines.

28. Be impulsive every once in awhile. Do something crazy at least once in your life.

29. Celebrate birthdays. Age brings wisdom and life experience. Appreciate them.

30. Think — every single day. It never goes out of style.

31. Listen to your body. It’s amazing what it can tell you.

32. “Never being satisfied” makes a great motivational poster but leaves you feeling empty inside. Always wanting more can leave you broke and alone. Enjoy your achievements and appreciate what you have. Remember, perfection is unattainable.  (Read: What’s your riddle?)

33. Be genuine in everything you do. It’s easier in the long run, and people will appreciate you for it. Eventually, you’ll even find people who like you for who you are.

“And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…”  –Lester Burnham, American Beauty

stick em up!

Bonnie & Clyde… back in the day.

I’ve never really grown up (vertically challenged here), but I have learned a lot. Like a good hat can make up for just about anything, even a really crappy day.

Share Your Lessons

What lesson(s) have you learned?

Do any of these lessons resonate with you? Do you disagree with any?

Maybe we can all learn to navigate this crazy thing we call life a little better.

Cheers,
Jaime

Life lesson: Connect with others!
Facebook logo Google+ logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo YouTube logo

Mental Illness: Why don’t we talk about it?

Mental illness. Why don’t we talk about it?

There have been a number of taboos in society over the years, and one by one they have slipped (or been forced) into mainstream conversation. Sex, alternative lifestyles, birth control, racial equality, etc. But mental illness has somehow remained elusive.

Image

I recently listened to a scary, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting tale of mental illness, Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan. In the book, Cahalan describes her “month of madness,” detailing how she slipped dangerously close to coma and even death due to a rare autoimmune disease which caused her body to attack her brain. Although she has no memory of her month-long hospital stay, the then 24-year-old compiled an amazingly detailed recollection based on doctor interviews, family journals and medical records. Per Callahan, this illness is now considered to be the source of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

  

I appreciate Cahalan having the courage to write this memoir and relive this terrifying experience. It was amazing to see how much about the brain is still unknown and how dangerously close this young, bright journalist was to being committed to a lifetime of institutions and being written off as psychotic.

Reading (or in my case listening) to a book of this nature is disconcerting, because it forces you to come to terms with how precious life is. One day we’re experiencing life as usual, then suddenly we’re falling off a cliff with no parachute.

Maybe that’s why mental illness is still such a taboo subject. It makes us uncomfortable because of how little we still understand about so many mental illnesses and how quickly we could end up in an institution.

That’s why I admire people like Elyn Saks, who came forward to discuss her struggle with schizophrenia in a TED Talk. Watching Saks detail her struggles to cope illuminated just how difficult mental illnesses are to deal with, especially in a world that still shies away from the subject. (For more TED Talks that will stretch your mind on mental illness, click here.)

While we continue to research and learn about mental illnesses, we need people to continue to come forward with their stories of heartbreak and courage. They will help us all to see that mental illness can be the subject of conversation, and ultimately answers.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Have you come across any other wonderful resources? If so, please share! We can all benefit from learning more about this subject and educating those around us.

Photo and Susannah Cahalan’s Month of Madness video courtesy of her website

Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness — from the inside courtesy of TED Talks

Be grateful!
Jaime

Join the conversation with CCC: 
Facebook logo  Google+ branding  Twitter bird icon  Pinterest logo  LinkedIn logo