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“First” vs. “Best”

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Best

There has been a lot of talk about “Firsts” lately.  What does “First” really mean?

So, I got to thinking…

As far as achievement, I believe “First” is a milestone.  For example, “first” steps, “first” car, “first” words.

Merriam – Webster dictionary defined the adjective of “First” as: coming before all others in time, order, or importance (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/first)

“Firsts” can, also, perhaps, encourage others and provide examples to others on how they can move forward and achieve, too.  I believe motivating others and encouraging others is truly important.  I believe it’s our personal responsibility to strive and grow and to help others do the same.

“Firsts” are definitely important, but are they the MOST important?  “Firsts” can provide people a vision to build upon and then to achieve beyond what was “first”.

Throughout the development of the concepts behind the Time to Play Foundation, I have come to realize and believe that everyone has something to offer that can help someone else.  I say all the time that we are all not going to be “Oprah” – Oprah is Oprah and we are ourselves — but imagine if we each contributed a tiny bit… if we each used a little of our gifts, expertise and personal power to move things forward, to make our communities better, to reach out and help another.  Imagine the impact this could make.  If all of the “regular” people really worked together…

I believe moving forward and making things happen is incredibly important, and do not believe that we, as a whole, have an ability to stay stagnant.  People have incredible imaginations.  At this point in my life I do not believe that anything anyone can come up with is impossible.  I think that if you dream it, you can do it.  Look at the 3-D printer – who can even believe such a thing is possible?  Look at how far technology and modern conveniences have come in just the recent past.  Our grandparents would not even believe it.

This brings me back towards achievement, motivation and “Firsts”.

Personally, I believe “Bests” are even more important.

Think about it.  If you put an ad in the local newspaper to watch your children or your dog, would you hire the “First” person that answers the ad or the “Best” to be able to take care of your prized possession?

Would you put your money in the “First” bank you drive to or the “Best” and most responsible?

Would you have an operation with the “First” doctor you visited or the “Best” to perform the surgery?

These are a few things just to get you thinking.  We have to be careful and responsible with our personal choices.  We have to research and we have to trust that we make the right decisions for all things that affect our lives and the lives of our children.

“First” or “Best” can make a dramatic difference.  “Firsts” give us a starting point that provides us with the fuel to create “Bests”.

Today, look at what you are and what you have achieved… then look at what is your passion.

We have all accomplished “firsts”.  Let’s continue to strive and grow.  We can have the “BEST” life ever.

Just imagine the possibilities.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified social and emotional intelligence coach, certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Image credit a2ua.com/best.html

Stuff

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Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

My sisters and I had breakfast together yesterday.  In our busy lives, it has been really hard to take time out to visit with each other.  Years ago I had suggested making a monthly family breakfast, and I’m actually glad this is hopefully becoming a priority.  Although our breakfast gathering was only for an hour and it was just the three of us this time, we were able to enjoy each other’s company.

I’ve learned over my 50 years that if you don’t actually schedule something and make an effort to make it happen, it never will.

Part of the conversation was about my husband thinking of selling our boat. We have owned a boat for over 30 years.  Jim is a true Pisces, and when we were first dating, he purchased a 21’ Mark Twain.  It had a little cabin and a porta potty.  Although very minimal, we had everything we needed while it was just the two of us, spending many days on the water and many nights sleeping out.  Our three kids grew up on that boat and at the beach, and the stories that boat could have told!  All of the years of fishing (or trying to fish but not catching anything), the sinking episode, the rainstorms we got caught in.  The kids grew up on that boat, rushing to “suicide hill”, a fabricated name for a huge pile of sand near our dock.  We had that boat for almost 20 years.  Jim had always wanted a little bigger boat, one that would be more convenient for our family with a little kitchen area and a real bathroom space that didn’t require taking the whole boat apart to get to.

Then September 11 happened.  If you have read things I’ve written before, sometimes, I believe, it takes a life event to provide the motivation to make today a “someday”.  I’ll explain.  So many times I find that we may say “someday I’ll do this” or “someday I’ll do that”. We can say “it”, we can plan “it”, or we can make “IT” happen.  That October, as a result, I obtained a home equity loan and made “it” possible.  We purchased a larger boat that was able to accommodate the needs of our family convenience- wise, although it did reduce the portability of the boat.  As a side-note, and something that wasn’t planned as the Time to Play project wasn’t in existence at the time, the used boat we purchased came with the name “It’s All About Time”.  This is a super strong message about priorities — the need to take time to enjoy life — that I coincidentally wrote about in paragraph 1 when I began this article.

Anyway, after the years following September 11 to the present, the kids are pretty much never with us and the boat is not used as much as it had been.  With that, my sister, who has two younger boys, discussed a recent conversation with her husband about getting a bigger camping trailer.

FINALLY:  The point of this article after this whole, long introductionWhat “stuff” do we need?

A few days ago Keith Richards Godwin, one of our valuable Time to Play Foundation team, invited me to be a guest on his recovery radio show on 103.9 FM LI Talk Radio.  On the show we had a brief discussion of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the pressure society puts on us to have “stuff”.  We discussed how we needed to question if we, personally, have our basic needs being met including shelter and food, as well as if we really needed all the “stuff” our society tells us we need.

Certainly there is tremendous pressure on us to have things, but I have learned that things don’t make us whole.  At this point in my life, I have realized that anything I have needs to fill a purpose to compliment my life or to make something in my life easier.  I have learned that things are not a substitute for love or fulfillment, and cannot fill the basic needs we each have as a living and breathing human.

Years ago I heard a skit by, I believe, George Carlin, where he discussed how we live in a box where we never are because we are always working, work in a box, and pay for our car, another box, that we drive from our house box to our work box and park outside in a parking lot while we work.  I never forgot the message, which always comes to mind before I purchase something.  I wanted to share a video of the message here, but the best I could find when I Googled was this excerpt from one of George Carlin’s performances about “stuff” https://youtu.be/MvgN5gCuLac.

Back to the breakfast with my sisters and our discussion:  our boat is long paid for at this point, so this “stuff” we have only costs yearly maintenance and dock fees.  My sister would have created another payment for her family that she would have had to work harder to cover, so she and her husband decided it wasn’t necessary to get bigger “stuff” right now.

Benefit analysis is pretty important when any purchase is considered – for example, why do you want the “stuff”, will the “stuff” enhance and compliment your life?  Will it fill a purpose to make life better or more enjoyable?

Don’t get me wrong, I love “stuff”.

But now, my intention is to get “stuff” that I will use to add to my life’s enjoyment.  There is no “stuff” that can fill any type of void in my life. And, of course, remember the saying, “You can’t take it with you”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting or striving to get “stuff” that will add to life enjoyment.  It’s part of the joy in life, and why people make “stuff” in the first place!  I’m actually leaving this morning to go to Connecticut to pick up my new used motorcycle today, which will absolutely add to my life enjoyment this upcoming riding season.

I guess the message I’ve been trying to communicate here is don’t stress to get “stuff”.  Don’t put pressure on yourself to get “stuff”.  Not adding pressure to my life is a message I still have to remind myself of frequently.  I have found that pressure and stress lead to obstacles, and that life should focus on happiness and enjoyment.

If I only knew then what I know now.

I hope this helps spark a thought in you, and that you pass this on to someone else who may need it.

After all, it is time to enjoy life. It is Time to Play.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is a board certified healthcare executive, a certified professional life coach, the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life and author of If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life.  The concept behind time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation was absolutely created out of LOVE. Please see http://www.timetoplay.com/ for more information.

Who Says I Can't

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Can't

After spending the past few months worrying about how I can’t help where and when I may find a job, how the economy looks, how, even with a Ph.D. I may be out of luck finding a career or how everything seems like its out of my control. I suddenly had a huge surge of motivation and inspiration while reading an article on a different site which was all about ‘Things you learn in your 20s which no one ever told you.’ These lessons had to do with how ‘hard’ life is and how you’ll ‘probably’ never accomplish anything and, while not explicitly stated, that you’ll probably amount to the ‘Average Joe’ marinating in stagnant, complacent misery, forever wondering where the time went.

While reading through, I started thinking about how most people I know are pretty down in the dumps and unable to find jobs, meaning, or pretty much anything else. I’ve been having a lot of conversation with people, especially my mother, about how others attribute their locus of control externally, and just give up.

Now, locus of control means “the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them” (thanks Wikipedia) and herein lies the problem. Or at least the ones I have been having with my own personal motivation. Your ‘locus of control’ can be attributed usually internally or externally. Those with an ‘internal locus of control’ believe that they personally have at least some, or a lot of control over the things that happen to them. While, those with an external locus of control believe that they personally have no, or extremely little control over the things that happen.

While I was thinking about this, I realized that I have been mostly focusing on the very few negative things I’ve been dealing with and yelling about how I had no control over any of it.  This, I realized, was seriously preventing me from taking strides toward my goals as I had been. I started thinking about how much I have accomplished in the past few years like: making friends, moving to NYC, how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve improved in so many areas. Then I started thinking about how I was taking steps toward my goals and how the only person who could stop me from chasing after them was, in fact, me.

I realized that not my license, diploma, birth certificate, nor any other document or object I possess says or will ever say: “Gregory can’t achieve his goals or change the world.” I realized that, if I do in fact want to accomplish something, I will need to take steps toward it and put myself in situations where I can achieve. I happen to be lucky in this regard as I live in NYC where there is a community for just about anything.

This is not to say that people in my generation can achieve simply by putting their minds to it. There are a significant number of barriers between us and success. Especially with the economy, oversaturated job market, unreasonable/unrealistic demands and expectations of employers, competition from unpaid interns, need to be an unpaid intern, and about a million other seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand between 20 somethings and the fabled “non-minimum-wage-job.” Now, more than ever, it seems like the only thing hard work and dedication will get you is a face covered in egg, and while that may be true, we ignore the fact that real success comes from ourselves.

Setting goals and taking steps, though they may be small, is the only thing we can do to truly ensure success in this day and age. Throwing yourself body and soul at a barrier and hoping to topple it will only leave you battered and broken. You’ll eventually hobble, depressed and defeated, into obscurity and a cubicle, forever. Now, there is nothing wrong with a solid steady job even if it lands you in a cubicle, especially if it funds your other passions but the key is, you need to be passionate about the things you do. Instead of tossing yourself at a huge barrier what needs to be done is to, as they say, “hit the books.” Do some research, make a plan and execute it. The world, and the last few generations have erected so many barriers that life may seem like a maze. But, with almost the entirety of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, we can be more clever than that maze. This is how we can achieve anything we try to. Not that it will be easy or quick… but even a toothbrush can clean an entire floor if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. We need to figure out how to chip away at the obstacles before us, and we may only wind up with a little mousehole, but the more mouseholes we put in the easier it’ll be to eventually push the obstacle over.

Now back to locus of control. When you surrender to the world and attribute your control externally you may feel like armies are against you, people are either lucky or unlucky, and there is no way to change it no matter how talented you are. But what one needs to realize is that though you can’t control every little thing, such as which opportunities present themselves or come to fruition. What you can control are you and the steps you take toward your goals and passions. Even if it is a one in a million shot, you’ll never make it if you don’t try. Think of it this way: even the greatest, most talented people had to start somewhere. Bill Gates wasn’t born knowing how to program, and Shakespeare didn’t come out of the womb with a pen in hand (though some may argue that fact). Just because you haven’t done it yet doesn’t mean you never can.

Do yourself a favor, resolve to remove the term “CAN’T” from your life and see how far it gets you.

Every Action We Take Provides a Reward or a Consequence

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So, it has taken 45 years for me to start figuring things out.  I guess that’s better than never.

I have always advocated being proactive.  During my corporate career one of my job functions was quality improvement.  That is what I base our business model on now.  For our company I have written a statement:  “Everything you do in your organization to achieve success requires identification of goals, analysis, strategy and planning”.   This I advocate for our clients, but, something I realize I never really implemented in my life.  I feel that I’ve mostly utilized the “shoot from the hip” philosophy, just being happy to get through each day.

Life a continuous learning process, and I have learned some things recently.  All brought about as I search for meaning in development of timetoplay.com and through talking to people.  My goal for the site?  How can it help the most amount of people have a quality of life.  I really am working on it.

Something new I’ve realized (although it is obvious) but didn’t really put into practical operation is every action we take provides a reward or a consequence.

Let’s think about this — both in business and in life.

In business, are you achieving?  If not, what actions are you taking?  Are you being proactive?  Have you evaluated the past to find out what can be improved?  Have you set goals?  Have you planned?  Again, what actions are you taking?  What will be the consequences or potential rewards of those actions?  If no action is taken and you go on with the same old, same old, what consequences will there be?  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that wound up not implementing changes to make their business work and wound up out of business.  It is sad.

In life are you happy?  If not, why?  Did you ever really stop to think what will make you happy?  Did you ever try to make a plan or set a goal to acquire what will make you happy?  What have I realized lately?  I have to make it happen.  I have to make the change.  I have to set the goal.  I cannot wait.  If I don’t make it happen, it is not going to happen.  One of my friends was unhappy in her marriage.  On the outside she had the perfect life.  A wonderful house, wonderful kids, etc.  But she wasn’t happy.  She is going through a divorce and she is so happy.  She is free.  She has found a man that loves her.  SHE made it happen. 

In things like relationships, lateness, job satisfaction, weight loss, exercise, procrastination, behavior (being crabby), etc.  . . . the list is endless. . .  Every action (or no action) we take provides a reward or a consequence.  What changes need to be implemented.  What actions do/should you take?  What is the reward?  What is the consequence of an action or no action.  No actions may provide no results.  Bad actions may provide bad consequences.

Let’s take those good actions.  Proactive actions.  Let’s get that reward.

Looking at Achievements – Here's to 2011!

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So. . . 2011 is here.  We have bucket lists.  We have goals.

As a newbie to Facebook, I have noticed people posting when they are working on something or when they have finally accomplished “it”.  I think that is one thing Facebook has given us.  A way to spread an accomplishment to more than just immediate friends or family.

There are those who are writing or have finished writing books.  I didn’t realize how many people I “know” that wanted to write a book or had written one.  It is pretty amazing — they have taken words of wisdom, something they love, etc. and put it down to share with others.  They have made “a mark”.

For others, speaking engagements, publicity, published articles — sorta 10 seconds (or hopefully longer) of fame. 

First thoughts — wow. . . how could they have done that?  How did they get contacted?  How did they get lucky to “make it”.

But, then, thoughts of sincere and heartfelt awe — they worked hard, maybe for years, to get a little recognition that they absolutely deserved.  Good for them!  Get far!!!!!  Ride the wave of success!

I feel proud that they achieved what they set out to do.  More power to them!  It is amazing to know that they actually achieved what they wanted to do.  They didn’t just say “I should have” or “I should do _______”.  They did it.  They achieved.

Don’t just think it or say it.  Do it.

I hope we all accomplish something this year that we can celebrate.  Make 2011 a good one.  I wish you much happiness, prosperity, success and achievement.

Happy New Year,

Doreen