celebrate kindness

Archive for the ‘7 Day Blogging Challenge’ Category

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Today wraps up our last day of Jeff Goins’ 7-Day Blogging Challenge. He deemed today a day of rest (very appropriate for a Sunday!) and shared his analogy of training for a marathon: while the entire race is long, the occasional sprints build endurance and make you stronger.

Endurance.

Strength.

Yes, this pretty much summarizes my week.

Like many writers, this is not my full-time job. I’m an instructional technologist working in a public school system, providing professional development for teachers who want to integrate technology in their lessons. Much of my day is spent either in the classroom teaching students or preparing resources and training materials to support the needs of teachers and district administrators. I do my fair share of technology troubleshooting as well.

When the final bell of the school day rings, my job is still not complete. I offer training sessions after school and attend various meetings. Sometimes I tutor students or participate in webinars to enhance my own professional growth. Several nights a week I bring work home, waiting for my three children to go to bed so I can continue the unfinished work of the day.

Finding time to write is an ongoing quandary in my world.

Now let’s throw in a 7-Day Blogging Challenge to the mix. It’s one thing to carve out time to write. It’s quite another to write and learn.

The Fitbit on my arm reminds me that I haven’t met my step goal for four days in a row. My sleep goal has diminished by two hours as my writing now takes me from PM to AM most nights. I’m a night owl by nature, but at some point sleep does become a necessity. My laundry is still piled up on the floor and my vacuum remains in the closet, untouched. I’m sure those close to me are questioning, “Why does she DO this to herself?”

I did it because I needed to grow.

See, that’s the beauty of a 7-Day Blogging Challenge. It’s a choice. I wanted to learn new things. I wanted to become better at my craft of writing. I wanted to know what I didn’t know and figure out how to move from static to dynamic. I prayed for a push and received an invitation instead.

This is what I learned in the process:

1. It’s OK to not know what you are doing.

When I began this blogging challenge, I had no idea what the journey would entail. I didn’t receive a syllabus, nor an agenda for weekly assignments. Each day began with a new post from Jeff with a task to complete, most often on a platform I never knew existed. I was constantly faced with my lack of knowledge in marketing, advertising and social media management and often felt incompetent, even in the area of technology which I use every day! Learning something new, no matter the content, humbles you quickly.

2. Pressure + Persistence = Success

HTML codes. Widgets. Plug-ins. Pixels. No matter how many times I tried to follow the directions shown on my screen, I was met with a product that didn’t match my vision. Again. And again. And again. And then it worked. The pop-up appeared, I could close it out, and all was well with the world. (In my mind, the heavens parted and I could hear a choir of angels singing the Hallelujah chorus in perfect harmony.) No one watched me struggle. No one witnessed my frustration. I could have easily given up and no one would be the wiser, especially with the pressure of a daily deadline. But I persisted and, in the end, was met with success.

3. Everyone has a purpose for their writing.

With almost 3,000 people participating in this challenge, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  As each person posted links to their blog posts, manifestos, giveaways, and more, I found myself caught in the comparison game, my inadequacies as a professional writer glaring back at me with each paragraph I read. Then something amazing happened. About mid-week I stopped comparing my writing with others and started seeking out the writer’s purpose. Why was the writer sharing this story? What lessons were to be learned? How does this writing appeal to me as a reader? What could this writing teach me? It helped redefine my purpose for writing and move past the fear to write and share more.

4. Random acts of kindness are everywhere.

You wouldn’t expect a virtual blogging group to bring out the good in others, but that’s exactly what happened. Jeff’s Day 2 Challenge encouraged us to share something as a lead magnet; Day 5 was to give away something for free. Day 6 was to ask for kindness from someone else in sharing our writing with others. Bloggers I had never met were taking time to read my writing, offer suggestions, share ideas, even troubleshoot my questions. Their kindness encouraged me to keep writing and inspired me to think creatively about blessing others in this realm of writing. The greatest random acts of kindness shared this week were from Jeff Goins himself.  He willingly organized this challenge, shared insights from lessons learned, and encouraged us along the way. From live video broadcasts with back-channeled questions (nice hair and nice grill!) to scheduled check-ins to gauge our comfort level, he made this journey of learning not only productive, but enjoyable.

I am thankful for the opportunity I’ve had this week to sprint as fast as I could to the finish. Now is the time to catch my breath, retie my laces, and start again.

Writing really is like a marathon and I’m in it for the long haul. Runner, spectator, or cheerleader, we each have a purpose for the journey. Won’t you join me in the race?

Quote - Go far

 

 

 

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For Day 6 of Jeff Goins’ 7-Day Blogging Challenge, we were encouraged to reach out and ASK. Ask someone to share a blog post. Ask for some feedback. Put ourselves out there and just ask for help.
 
I feel like I’ve already done that so many times with you already – YOU are the reason I’ve had more than 30,000 views on my blog to date! When I created my public Facebook page just a week or so ago, I took a chance and asked you to “like” my new page.
 
That. Was. Uncomfortable.

“If you never ask for help, the answer will always be no.”

 
I hate asking people for help. But I did. I knew I needed to brand myself professionally on several platforms and you responded in a BIG way! Today I hit 200 “likes” on my Facebook page – WOW! While this may not seem like an accomplishment for others, this is HUGE for me! 
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Thank you for your support and encouragement as I continue to chase my dreams of becoming a published writer. I appreciate each and every one of you!
 
Now on to the celebration… to wrap up the free giveaway challenge of Day 5, I had a drawing for someone to receive a free random act of kindness performed in their honor. Click here to see who won!
Being kind is FUN! I can’t wait to see what the upcoming week has in store. Join me in my mission of putting more JOY into the world around us!

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Everyone loves freebies! For Day 5 of our 7-Day Blogging Challenge, we were encouraged to give away something for free. How fun!

Here is the prize I am offering: a Random Act of Kindness (RAK) to be done in your name complete with a blog post mentioning you and your website or blog (if you have one). I will also customize the random act of kindness to reflect your interests (animals, children, cooking, etc.).

Wow! How many people will offer that just for YOU?

How to enter the raffle? Simply comment on this blog post. I will put all the names in a bucket and draw the winner later today!

The contest starts NOW!  It’s a pay-it-forward RAK that pays-it-forward again, a simple way to say “Thanks” for being a faithful reader and sharing in the joy of kindness!

 

 

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When was the last time you gave money to a complete stranger? Did you toss a few coins in an open guitar case as you strolled by a musician on the street, head down so you didn’t have to make eye contact? Perhaps you donated money to a non-profit organization, your generosity marked by the CVC code on the back of your credit card or the signature placed at the bottom of your check.

Maybe I should have been more specific with my question. When was the last time you handed money to a complete stranger?

Ahhh… now the stakes have changed.

Just this week a friend of mine posted a story of how he handed $60 to a Dunkin’ Donuts employee with the challenge of paying for the purchases of as many people as possible behind him in the drive-through line. As other people commented on his post, I was shocked to see just how many people viewed the action through the negative lens of cynicism. Even the unspoken words echoed sentiments I had heard before.

“I bet that girl kept the money.”

“Good luck seeing that ever again.”

“Why would anyone do something so stupid?”

Really? That’s your reaction to kindness?

Who cares what the girl did with the money? Sure, in an ideal world, she would do as the giver requested and use it to pay-it-forward, but what if she didn’t? Would the world end? Would the random act of kindness be any less meaningful?

Let’s take a moment and play out the scenario. The girl kept the money for herself. Maybe she had to purchase books for next semester’s college classes. Maybe she needed to put gas in her car so she could continue to drive to work. Maybe she needed to feed herself instead of others. Maybe she went to the mall and bought a new outfit that made her feel pretty and confident. Does this mean the donation was wasted?

Why must we tarnish the genuine thoughtfulness of the RAK with our own pessimistic outcomes. Who are we to judge?

I often give to the homeless. I don’t try to predict what they do with the money or items I share; I simply give without judgment or expectation. I’ve heard all the negative responses, from “They’ll just buy more alcohol” to “What a waste of time.”

My response to the naysayers?

I simply smile.

See, I know something they don’t. I know the joy in giving. 

It doesn’t matter to me what someone does with a gift I give. Keep it, toss it, pay-it-forward, rock on. All I care about is in the moment of giving, you know someone cares about you. You are important. You are valued. You matter.

That’s what kindness provides: validation of worth.

And that, my friends, is priceless.

As for the Dunkin’ Donuts worker who was given $60 to pay-it-forward? She did exactly that. Her manager and two other co-workers shared the story to my friend when he stopped by the next morning to see how it went. His donation not only paid for several family purchases, but others took notice and paid-it-forward, too.

In the end, kindness wins.

Always.

Kindness Wins Quote

 

 

Why celebrate kindness?

Think about all the things we celebrate in this world. Birthdays. Holidays. Marriages. Deaths. Each has their set of cultural expectations and, for the most part, we join in without question. It’s simply what we do.

Yes, I know we celebrate in different ways and there are some who choose to celebrate nothing whatsoever. There are even a few who claim to celebrate everything.

Wait. That might be me.

It’s true. I have a tendency to turn everyday events into celebrations. Why, even today I celebrated Pi Day at school!

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For the most part, with the exception of the passing of a loved one, celebrations bring a spirit of joy and frivolity. There are smiling people, genuine merriment, and quite often food.

Food makes everyone happy.

Celebrations are a way to mark the passage of time, achievements now grasped, acknowledgment of worth. They bind people together with a common thread, weaving memories into a tapestry of stories to be shared with others long after the celebration has ended.

My children love to pull out the dusty scrapbook albums lining my bookshelves, the plastic sheet coverings crinkling as they turn page after page. “Remember this, Mommy?” they question as their faces light up from pictures of their first birthday parties. Though they were too young to remember the moment of shoving their fists into the cake and smearing icing across their faces, they have a memory captured forever in their spirit simply because I took the time to document the celebration.

Kindness is a value I’ve always held sacred. Whether it was sitting beside an outcast on a long bus ride home, or smiling at a stranger passing by, I’ve always tried to make an effort to be nice, even when there was no reward. It wasn’t until I chose to do 40 random acts of kindness for my milestone birthday did I realize that the very act of kindness itself could be a celebration.

Celebrate kindness. It’s my life’s purpose, an inseparable part of my soul.

I was hesitant to share my stories at first. What would be the reaction? Would I be viewed as self-serving and narcissistic? Who would take the time to read my writing? Would anyone even care?

So many questions.

I dove into uncharted waters, praying I remembered how to swim, and dog-paddled my way to this moment, here with you today.

It’s no accident that you are reading my words right now. Maybe the title of my post intrigued you or perhaps you are a faithful follower who never misses a post. Either way, I know you are bound for greatness. You are here for a reason.

Why celebrate kindness?

Quite simply: Why not?

Whether your kindness is a small act of sharing or a monumental sacrifice for many, you have the power to change the world, one random act at a time. Never underestimate your worth. Don’t doubt the impact your actions have one someone else’s life. If you don’t tell your story, who will?

I am here to prove that kindness matters. And that is worthy of celebration.

 

 

 

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The cards I made as random acts of kindness to bless others through iServe #iservecsbc #rak
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