Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Would you like to give each of the treasured relatives and friends you will see over the holidays something more precious than gold? And would it be even better if it cost you absolutely nothing and might be something that loved one would treasure for a lifetime?
According to Jon R. Katzenbach, author of Why Pride Matters More Than Money, many people would prefer to receive a sincere piece of motivational feedback from their manager to extra money in their paycheck. And you can use this same principle to delight your friends and family.
What is motivational feedback? It is simply noticing what someone does well and mentioning it to them. If you can link it to the impact of what they have done, even better. And, if you can mention a personal characteristic of that person, now that’s a home run!
Here’s an example. “Aunt Bobbie, the meal you served today was wonderful. The turkey was perfect, the pies were delicious and everything arrived on the table at the same time! I know this takes a lot of time and hard work on your part and I can’t tell you how loved and cared for this makes us all feel. Your love for your family really shines through on a day like this.”
Or it can be much simpler. “Mike, I heard you got a great score on you SAT test. Good work!” or “Brenda, congratulations on your new job. I know you worked hard for that promotion and it paid off.” Or “Vernon, the story you told about your dad was so heartwarming. Those old family stories really make a day special.”
Positive, motivational feedback can make a family day more pleasant for everyone. By focusing on the positive behaviors and attributes of family and friends, you can warm their heart and feed their spirit.
A final word of caution. Please resist, with all your might, the urge to link a lovely positive comment to something negative. “We loved the pies BUT the turkey was a little dry.” Everything you say before the BUT will be forgotten and someone will go to bed thinking, “My turkey was a little dry!” Save any suggestions for improvement for a future conversation and make sure everyone goes to bed with a good feeling about the day and about YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.
As we approach Memorial Day weekend and many are thinking about picnics in the park, I’m thinking about the beautiful Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium. It is an amazingly beautiful place with 15 full time grounds keepers to make sure it is a place whose beauty will always honor those brave Americans killed in WWII who rest there.
Over this Memorial Day weekend, I invite you to reflect on those who have given their lives for our country in wars over the years and to feel grateful. And, if you’d like to know more about Truman Roberts and see the Ardennes American Cemetery, read this earlier Memorial Day post.
I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
It has been some time since I’ve devoted my attention to our Make Mom Happy by Mail blog and am happy to have a quiet afternoon to bring you up to date. As many of you know, I’ve been working on a book to share the concept behind Make Mom Happy By Mail with as many people as possible. That concept is simply to ask your loved one, especially an older relative or friend, “How can I be a better ………(daughter, son, friend, granddaughter, etc.)
I’m fortunate to be working with a delightful agent who has confidence in the book and has worked for several months to find just the right publishers and to put the proposal into the best possible form. Along the way, she suggested we change the title from Make Mom Happy By Mail to The One Magic Question. This made lots of sense to me because it really was the question that started our Make Mom Happy by Mail campaign and resulted in all the great things that followed. So that’s the new title, The One Magic Question.
And, with that as the title, I’m now starting our 100 People Ask The Magic Question campaign to discover how others would answer the Magic Question, “How could I be a better…….” The first few responses were touching. Here’s an example from a young colleague.
“I asked my mother what I could do to be a better daughter. She said, “You haven’t been in touch much lately. Call more often so that I know you’re OK and I won’t have to worry as much.”
My colleague went on to write, “I know that in recent months I’ve been so busy with my work life that I’ve been neglecting my personal life, but I thought it was only impacting me. But through your question, I now realize that it’s been impacting others as well. Thank you for the eye opener and the first steps to getting back on track”
I loved this response because it reminded me of how very simple most requests are and how easily they can be answered. It also reminded me that mothers and dads just keep worrying about the wellbeing of their children, whether those children are 6 months, 6 years or many times that old.
I invite you to participate in our 100 People Ask The Magic Question campaign by asking someone in your life “What can I do to be a better…….” Then, if you are willing, just send me a quick note telling me who you asked and what they said. I’ll let you know the 10 most often heard responses and more sweet stories in future blogs, as well as in the book. And I’ll be very grateful. Oh yes, you might also suggest that they ask someone they love The Magic Question – perhaps you!
Thanks for visiting Make Mom Happy by Mail. Be well and bring joy to someone you love.
On Friday, 500 leaders from my company met for an annual learning event. Our keynote speaker was Luke Visconti, founder and CEO of DiversityInc. He spoke about the necessity to make everyone in an organization feel included and respected in order for people to make their best contribution and derive maximum satisfaction from their work. He also mentioned unconscious bias; that is, holding opinions about people that might affect how we treat them, even if we are not fully aware of holding those opinions. Luke’s speech was well received by the group and sparked animated conversations following the event.
Now, we’ve all heard the phrase, “To the man with a hammer, all the world looks like a nail.” As I drove home that evening, it occurred to me that I might translate that to, “To a person who blogs, all the world reminds them of a blog” because that’s what I was thinking about.
On Saturday morning, as I reflected back on his speech about unconscious bias in the workplace, I began to think about unconscious bias as it might relate to our older relatives. I remember how utter shocked I was when my mother casually mentioned during a Mother’s Day brunch that she had read Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.
I had wrongly assumed that because she was old (probably 73 at the time- silly me!) and because she lived in rural Arkansas that she wouldn’t be reading New York Times best sellers. I was very wrong and we shared interesting books for the next decade, once I understood her tastes better.
And I wonder what other assumptions we make about our older relatives that affect how we treat them. Perhaps that they can’t learn to be tech savvy. Perhaps that they don’t understand today’s politics. Perhaps that they can’t make good decisions on their own.
Perhaps that we know better than they what would make them happy or be good for them. Perhaps that they don’t appreciate good music, good theater or good art. Perhaps that their wealth of knowledge doesn’t pertain to today’s world.
Looking back, I hope what I said at that Mother’s Day brunch expressed my admiration, not my surprise. And I hope I’ll always remember to check my biases at the door in future conversations with my senior friends and family and give them all the respect they deserve for the knowledge they’ve accumulated, the lives they’ve led and the wisdom they are willing to share.
Tip: To learn more about this subject, you might read Ageism: Stereotyping and Prejudice Against Older Persons by Todd Nelson.
The Mt. Diablo Busineness Women’s Association, www.mtdiabblobusinesswomen.org, invited me to speak at their monthly meeting this week. Actually, I was asked to fill in at the last minute for a speaker who cancelled, but as a member of The National Speakers Association, www.nsanc.com, and a ham at heart, I was more than happy to say yes. But I had to think quickly about what might interest this group of savvy lawyers, bankers, realtors, and successful business owners. Just talking about my book and sending them to my website, www.makemomhappybymail.com, might be too self-serving. (smile)
Then it hit me. Blogging! They might be interested in the wonderful world of blogging. My only fear was that perhaps everyone in the room would know more about this subject than I did because I’ve only been blogging a few weeks myself. But, having only a few hours to prepare, I plunged on.
I decided to speak about three key points; what is blogging , why anyone (including me) would want to blog, and how one gets started.
First I asked who already blogged regularly. When four people raised their hands,
I suggested that if anyone had questions following my presentation, perhaps they could direct them to one of those four real experts in the room! They all laughed. As any speaker knows, that is a golden moment. And, on I went.
What is blogging? It’s like writing a daily newspaper column about something that interests you – but you don’t have to be hired by a newspaper to do it!
Why blog? Because you have something important you want to say to a many people as you can get to listen. And, because it’s just plain fun. (I might not have said that, but it’s true)
How to get started? First, buy a copy of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging and read it cover to cover. Second, hire a savvy computer person, unless you are one, to build the infrastructure to make it work. You can probably find that person at a college near you.
I was happy the topic was well received. I was also happy it gave me a chance to talk about the importance of connecting with our senior loved ones while there’s till time which is why I blog.
Then another thought occurred to me. I know many wonderful senior citizens who have lived, and are living, fascinating lives like the former Air Force pilot who dropped supplies to the Resistance in WWII or the spirited French woman who teaches in San Francisco and has strong opinions about politics on both sides of the Atlantic. They, and many others, maybe your mom or day, have something to say and wisdom to share and might enjoy saying it electronically.
And perhaps you, their techy child, grandchild or friend, might introduce them to a whole new world that requires no traveling, no physical strength, no dressing up and no money – just stories to tell. And what senior citizen doesn’t have stories to tell!
Please share your stories with me so I can hare them with others.
Be well and bring joy