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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner

Posted by KakieF on October 21, 2014

These pictures were taken one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems course in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this was what I encountered.

Executive MBA Global Systems Course - Singapore

Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singapore

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life.

For different reasons we head down paths in pursuit of something more. It could be a better life, happiness, knowledge, material things, family, respect, acceptance, relationships, recognition, inner peace, personal growth, etc. Regardless of the motivation, what is important is that we have been compelled to take action. While it is exciting to know we are on the way to discovering possibilities, life can and will present a series of unexpected patterns to emerge. Sometimes these schemes can cause peoples light to bend, resulting in feelings of disarray.

Research has shown us that it is a natural process for individuals to resist change and as leaders, whether reservations are from us or those around us, it is our role to look at capabilities and value of the change, model new behavior and create repetitive messaging that points people in the proper direction because it is the right thing to do [1].

Bending light is beauty and most of the time we can see it instantaneously. The metaphor for refraction that occurs in our lives sometimes takes a little more time to be revealed, but when it shines, it is stunning because it radiates and people around us feel it. Contentment and enlightenment await.

Thanks for visiting my blog, please feel free to leave a reply below.

[1]  Beer, M., and Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the code of change. Harvard Business Review, 78(3): 133-141.

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Out in the Cold, But No Thin Ice Here – Twinkle Lights

Posted by KakieF on February 7, 2014

Out in the cold, but not on thin ice - Twinkle LightsI took this picture in Rice Park at the 2014 St. Paul Winter Carnival on January 31st and the temperature was well below zero. There was a live band outside that evening complete with an ice bar and ice sculptures. We didn’t stay long, but we did get some great pictures.

The lights are so beautiful and remind me of a quote by Brené Brown from her book called “The Gifts of Imperfection.” A while back I posted one of her TED Talks videos that went viral about the power of vulnerability. In the book; The Gifts of Imperfection; Brené writes;

I think the beauty of twinkle lights is a perfect metaphor for joy. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Random Act of Kindness for Wordless Wednesday

Posted by KakieF on January 22, 2014

When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.

WholeHeartedThankYou

As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.

What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Tradition, Legacy and New Beginnings

Posted by KakieF on December 25, 2013

These ornaments are hanging on my tree right next to one another and they both have significance. The one on the left Ornamentswas painted in November by my son as a way to create a memory, celebrate new beginnings, life and family. He did a beautiful job.

The ornament on the right was painted by my grandmother, Dode Jandric, in 1992. It was a tradition she created that has left a great legacy. For a number of years she painted and fired one for each of her 22 grandchildren and countless great-grandchildren. On the back of this ornament she hand painted a biblical quote from Isaiah 66:12 that reads:

Now towards her I will send flowing peace like a river” and on the bottom; “Merry Christmas Kakie” along with her name and the year.

This year she passed away at the age of 92. Both my son and I had the honor of spending mothers day with her, knowing it was our last. It was meaningful time well spent and a blessing words can’t begin to describe.

Here is wishing you a wonderful holiday and a year filled with new beginnings. Family and good friends are priceless. Life is a gift, may yours be bursting with gratitude and love.

Thanks for visiting my blog, keep coming back and feel free to comment below.

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Six Simple Ways to Multiply Gratitude

Posted by KakieF on November 28, 2013

CraneLake3This morning to start the Thanksgiving holiday, I got together with about 100 friends and each of us took a minute to share a bit of gratitude. It’s a tradition that has been going for a little over 21 years. Sometimes when I think about all I have to be grateful for, it’s like a new beginning because somehow it manages to realign my perspective. It reminds me to focus on being positive and present for the people in my life.

To honor that, I wanted to share some suggestions to multiply gratitude in your life.

  1. Keep an ongoing gratitude list on a magnetic whiteboard on your refrigerator or at work
  2. Celebrate your journey and how far you have come, treat yourself, you deserve it!
  3. Pay it forward – performing random acts of kindness multiplies gratitude
  4. If you have a loved one who lives out-of-state, call them and give them a hug over the phone
  5. Buy the kit called “A year of Gratitude” for yourself
  6. Discover new ways to say thank you to others by looking at my “appreciation board” on Pinterest.

Do you have other suggestions? Please share them below!!

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You’ve Got the Power | My Law Starts Here

Posted by KakieF on June 12, 2013

If I could enact a single law, it might read something like this:

Holding Hand

Compassion over judgement – Act thoughtfully and approach every human being, including yourself, with loving kindness. Acknowledge your own bias and seek to understand before jumping to conclusions. Everyone has a story to tell and asking someone about theirs may be really insightful.

Love your family in word and action – Family consists of those we choose to involve in our lives. Life is short, time slips away quickly and living with regret is daunting. The good news is every person has the gift of this very moment, so step forward, make a choice and seize the day!

Let go of the anger  In every life situation, have the courage to take a step back and ask;

  • What is really going on here?
  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What is my role in this situation?
  • Who or what do I need to forgive?

Practice Gratitude each day and sprinkle in a little fun.

Be kind to yourself - Cliche I know, – treat others the way you want to be treated. But how about this:

Treat yourself  the way you want to be treated.

What would that look like and if you had the power to enact a single law, what would it be? Please comment below.

_______________________________

This post was inspired by The Daily Prompt: You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be? Photographers, artists, poets: show us RULES.

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The Road….

Posted by KakieF on February 14, 2013

Unconditional Love

There are people who will say Valentines Day is a novelty, but I think it’s an opportunity to reflect, create a memory or perform a random act of kindness, because sometimes even the smallest gesture can go a long way.

My mom never forgets a Valentines Day. Last night she came over with the tulips you see in the background of the picture, made dinner and then did some religion homework with my son.

She gave me the red heart ornament in the picture years ago on a February 14th. It says “Kakie” and on the back Love, Mom.  Time has worn the ink from changing the oil in the decanter.

The faded letters on the ornament and the flowers are both signals for me. One, a gentle reminder about being present, new life, spring and what lies ahead. The other is to pause, step back, appreciate those around me and celebrate the journey. We didn’t get here alone and couldn’t have accomplished all that has been without others. Look how far we’ve come. For many of us it can seem quite remarkable.

Life puts gifts at our feet which we don’t recognize at first. Sometimes we stumble over them or we get in our own way. It’s okay because we are all flawed and I think there is beauty in that. Somehow we always manage to get back up, brush ourselves off and move ahead.

We are exactly where we are meant to be at any given moment and we have all of the tools we need. Today, give yourself permission to slow down, take a deep breath, find gratitude and share it with someone.

I would love to hear stories about small gestures that meant a great deal to you  Share them below and thanks for stopping by. Happy Valentines Day.

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Honor, Dignity and Acknowledging the Unseen… #Volunteerism

Posted by KakieF on December 14, 2012

“Homeless” courtesy of creative commonsBy Audra Jones

When I was younger, I belonged to a club that did community service work. There was one specific event that was memorable for me. We spent three or four hours handing out warm dinner to the homeless out in the streets. After that we went to a homeless shelter not far from the Bay Bridge.

I was in high school and at the time and my sister was too young to participate. She wanted to help, so she made four or five dozen chocolate chip cookies for us to take and hand out to people. When we got to the homeless shelter we passed out the remaining meals we had left. Next, we began making sandwiches and pairing them with other goodies and shared them with the crowd. I had the tins with my sister’s cookies in them and began to walk around, offering them to anyone near me.

I approached this older gentleman and said “Sir, would you like a cookie?” He stopped and turned around, looked me right in the eyes and said, “What did you say? Did you call me sir?” And I told him I had, and his eyes watered a little bit and he said, “No one has ever called me sir. Never.” He was completely taken back.

It struck me to my core.

I explained I had been raised that regardless of anything, color, creed, social status, everyone deserved respect It saddened me to think that just because he was homeless, no one afforded him the honor to which every human being should be entitled. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t help but cry. I just didn’t understand why no one ever called him sir? Just because he didn’t have money or a place to live…did that really give anyone any right to be disrespectful to him? I had never thought that anyone was below me because I wasn’t raised that way. Every single person deserves to be treated with dignity and I never realized how ignorant some people can be. Years later, I still carry that memory and the lessons it taught me. Sometimes, what we take for granted as simple gestures can really make a difference in someone’s life.

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A note from Kakie:  I often say when we give, we get. Everyone deserves to be treated with honor and dignity.  Everyone deserves compassion. At the core, we all have the need to be acknowledged. Whether it is through our words or being of service to others, there is so much power when we look another human being in the eye and say; “You Matter.”

Please, share information about a time you have experienced something similar or witnessed a person who made a difference. How have you seen the action of others impact an individual, a community, the world? If you feel moved by this story, pass it along. Every good deed counts. I am grateful you are here and look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting.

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Four Simple Ways to Be More Grateful

Posted by KakieF on November 22, 2012

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  – Melody Beattie

 Want to know benefits to living thankfully?

A Psychology Today article called; “The Benefits of Being Thankful,” explains focusing on gratitude promotes well-being, motivating pro-social  and moral behavior.

Psychologists asked a group of people to spend just a few minutes a day for 13 days in a row thinking about and listing the things for which they were thankful. Compared to other control participants, these gratitude-focused folks experienced:

  •         Higher optimism
  •         Increased positive mood
  •         Greater feelings of belonging
  •         Less physical illness
  •         Lower levels of negativity
  •         Higher likelihood to be of service to others in need
  •         More likely to exercise (Suggesting gratitude promotes healthy living.)
  •         Improved and better quality sleep
The list above doesn’t even cover how gratefulness improves relationships,  enriches the emotional climate of family life, makes us more valued within the workplace and lays the foundation for a life well lived. Isn’t that exciting? Are you looking for ways to be more grateful? Below are a few things to take into consideration.

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Day 14: Poetry, Letter to a Younger Self – Maya Angelou’s Birthday

Posted by KakieF on April 5, 2012

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for:

Art. Not sure when or how I came to appreciate it, but I do know I have always had a fascination for learning from every experience life has brought my way. I love expressing creativity through the craft of writing and was in 8th grade the first time I wrote a poem that was published by my English teacher. Just a few years later, another poem, published in our high school year book and I remember the feeling of accomplishment. Now, years later I am writing on my blog and am a grateful and accomplished award winning author. It was a lot of work and learning along the way. But I didn’t get there by myself. I could not have gone through the journey without the gifts, talents and passion of those who worked with us.

Today was Maya Angelou’s birthday, she has aged gracefully and I hope I will be able to do the same as the years pass. She is beautiful and in rare poetic form, she writes a letter to her 15 year old self.

If you were doing the same, what would your words look like? Please share below.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The people I stay in touch with that I have worked with over the years
  2. My gift, the craft of writing and that I am perfectly a human being
  3. Miracles. because I am a living witness they do happen every day

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

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Day 10: Turning to Community: Asking for Help in Times of Need

Posted by KakieF on February 24, 2012

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Why don’t we lean on one another more and ask for help? My experience as a project manager, coach, mentor and trainer has always been to get people to step outside of their comfort zones by using leadership development strategies to confirm their thoughts, feelings and actions are in congruence with principles, beliefs, values and goals. When we understand what is important to others, we can use that as a tool bring out the best in them. People have shared some of the following reasons with me about why they don’t ask for help:

  1. It will make me look too needy
  2. I am too busy to ask for help and haven’t had the time
  3. Requesting help is a sign of weakness
  4. People will assume I am not as smart as someone else because I can’t do it myself
  5. Rejection
  6. What is the cost?
Experience has taught me that the only valid reason for not asking for help above is number 6. What is the cost? Not financially, but mentally, emotionally, professionally and spiritually. The real reason for not asking for help is about one thing.
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F.E.A.R (Feelings and Expectations that Aren’t Real).
.
Emotional competence comes when we challenge ourselves to shift our paradigms towards a new way of thinking, which uncovers an alternate perspective. I have never had one business partner say they regretted being pushed to grow. Humility is an important quality in leadership.  So are relationships and being connected. Communities exist for a reason, we need one another. Sometimes when we ask for help, we are giving a gift to someone who wants to make a difference.
So what are you waiting for? Who do you need to reach out to today?
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Three things I am grateful for today:
  1. There is power when we adjust our assumption points to expand our horizons, I am growing and learning
  2. I get to rely on the community of other brilliant people around me and ask for help
  3. My experiences that helped me write this blog post. I hope it will make a difference to someone

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Day 9: Then is Now: Letting Go of Resentment

Posted by KakieF on February 14, 2012

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

Years ago I attended personal growth and leadership seminars by Earnie Larsen, who used the analogy of “Who is driving your bus?” to illustrate how people hold on to resentments and that often, “then is now.” So let me give you an example of what he meant by that.

When Johnny was 7 years old, his parents were constantly at odds and one day, while they were fighting, he began screaming at them to stop, started sobbing and ran outside. No one came to console him, apologize or explain the argument was not about him.

It broke a part of his spirit and sample messages he could have carried from that might be “love hurts, nobody listens to me anyway, I will never allow others to be that much in control again,” etc.

Now, what if we put that seven-year old’s outdated lie in charge of driving his life (aka bus) for 50 years? Who is behind the wheel? That is an awful lot of years of pain and false data from which he establishes his viewpoint. The reality is, his parents were probably young and just trying to figure things out themselves, but that was not what he took from the experience.

Examples like this play out every day at home and at work. As leaders,we manage people with various backgrounds and social styles. Perhaps if we keep stories like the one above in mind, it can help us incorporate emotional intelligence and compassion into our professional environments in ways that are healthy. Intent, usually comes from the right place and situations are not always as they seem at first glance.

Hanging on to resentment is a painful form of abuse that prevents us from having self-compassion, but all too often, we may not even realize we are clinging to a given injustice. That resistance gets us emotionally jammed and a majority of people do not have any idea how to get unstuck.

One solution? “And acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.”  Someone once told me there are four stages that shine in the face of love. They are:

  1. Allowing
  2. Acceptance
  3. Approval
  4. Appreciation

These four things are at the core of who we are when we are born. What if we made it our goal to live these principles in every aspect of our lives daily as a way to get back to our core being? Including loving all of our resentments and saying yes, accepting the things we can’t control. What if this was your personal growth homework? What have you got to lose? Try it for a few days and let me know how it works for you. Who is driving your bus today?

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The process of allowing, acceptance, approval and appreciation.
  2. The idea that “If you don’t give yourself any options, you don’t have any choices.” There is always another way, we get to seek the counsel of others to help us with that.
  3. That I have learned how to give myself permission to let go of old resentments and lies

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Day 5: Because Creating Memories are Forever

Posted by KakieF on February 8, 2012

21 days to happiness: My story and 3 things I am thankful for: 

I love the way a variety of mismatched picture frames can give personality and warmth to a room. Today I counted 17 that I can see while sitting on my couch.

The lemonade stands, running through sprinklers at water parks, the first official family picture with our new puppy. Silly faces and parades with cousins, sunset on the beach on The Fourth of July and my grandparent’s 68th wedding anniversary. Our National Product Launch at the Mall of America for Bur Bur and Friends, poses with our favorite Sports Mascots. Crunch and TC Bear.

My sisters would tell you I am always the one who says, “Come on every one, let’s get a picture!” But what they don’t know is there is a method to my madness. Time flies by so quickly and it’s up to us to create memories. Pictures are a collection of moments that are imprinted on our hearts forever and if you ask me, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. The spontaneous laughter of a child
  2. Knowing I have the power to make a difference in someone’s life today
  3. That I am a creative and innovative thinker

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How did I end up here?

Posted by KakieF on March 25, 2009

In the face of uncertainty, I do my best to begin from a place of gratitude. As I began setting up this blog I found myself thinking, “How in the world did I end up here?”  It’s because of the one thing in life that is constant. Change. For many years I worked in roles that included marketing, communications, program management, project management, training and leadership development in the financial services industry. I learned the value of getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time, through the right medium. I am grateful for the many gifts those experiences gave, the lessons it has taught and the lessons it continues to teach me. Read the rest of this entry »

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