Tag Archives: Leadership

Creating Servant Leaders One Oreo Cookie At A Time


Good leaders must first become good servants.  Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches lives of individuals, builds better organizations and creates a more just and caring world.  Servant Leaders lead with others in mind.   Robert Greenleaf  is regarded as the founder of the concept of Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership is not only a process, it is a way of life.  

The Way To SuccessAllison Elkow Lazicky from Top Notch Teams is serving up Servant Leadership in more ways than one.  Using the metaphor of an Oreo Cookie, Allison  sets the stage by saying that before one can dig into the delicious center cream, we set expectations with the top half of the cookie and learn how to develop an attitude of gratitude with the bottom half of the cookie.  I love the metaphor of the Oreo Cookie and Servant Leadership.

I think there is a strong connection between servant leadership and being a caregiver.  As caregivers we often put ourselves second and focus on the needs of someone else. Becoming a servant leader is a process; becoming a caregiver is a process too.  When we (caregivers) develop a care team, we have to empower members to the best of their abilities.  While we might want to jump right into the center of the Oreo cookie, we have to set our expectations and adapt that attitude of gratitude.

I find the concept of Servant Leaders and Caregivers fascinating.  I think you will find the conversation with Allison Elkow Lazicky fascinating too.  Here’s to creating great teams and Oreo Cookies! Listen in and learn how Allison is creating healthy teams and Healing Ties all around us!

 Visit Allison’s website, Top-Notch Teams by clicking here! 

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Caregivers As Servant Leaders


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my master’s degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection caregivers have to Servant Leadership.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve; to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual tiles-1424714_1920power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While  Servant Leadership focus is on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I see a connection to Caregivers as Servant Leaders  because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place culture driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feels a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion. Organizations who propose a culture of Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, empower their employees to be connected and contributing.  Stephen Covey was the “Greeenleaf” of leadership training for the military back in the 90’s,  In Greenleaf (2002), Stephen Covey stated that, “The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our common nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”

I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined between Servant Leadership and being a family caregiver. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their caree, while understanding that their caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Because of the innate ability of the caregiver to think beyond self, caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand.

Organizations who commit to the philosophy of Servant Leadership will certainly understand the special needs of working family caregivers. These same organizations will be leaders in helping the working family caregiver reduce conflicts when an emergency arise and they have to choose between going to work, or staying home to care for their caree. Employers who understand their bottom-line and return on investment is vested in how they treat their most important customer, their employee, lead by example and reap all the  benefits of having a work-place culture that promotes open dialogue and passion with employees.

You can’t put a price tag on employee morale, or can you?

We are all Servant Leaders in training, and our training in Servant Leadership is ongoing, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I am still in training, learning how to care for myself while being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Life After Caregiving is about relationships, too.  I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning of our caregiving journey, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.

 

 

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The Love Not Fear Movement


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann was a German political scientist who developed a mass communication theory called the Spiral of Silence.  The Spiral of Silence is a term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject.  People who feel they are in the minority, sense isolation, fear or exclusion  and tend to remain silent instead of voicing opinions.  Often used in a political or media content,  Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence mass communication theory explains the growth and spread of public opinion.

It’s time to break our silence and exchange fear for love. 

People, like myself, who have lived in fear for a variety of reasons, often tend to stay silent until they experience that “Ah-Ha” moment and come to realize that fear is useless.th (2)As a young man, my fear always centered around my sexual orientation.  As I have grown older, my fear has shifted to fearing success. What a quagmire; life is a process...I am letting go of my fears.

In today’s society,  there seems to be a cultural bias that leans towards fear? Cable news tends to report more negative aspects of life and politics: Are things really bad as they appear (political climate) or is our current climate permeated by a lack of leadership, poor communication skills or…fear?   Where has open, honest and respectable dialogue gone from our leaders?   The Spiral of Silence is alive in our own fears.

One of the ways of letting go of fear is to embrace communication from the standpoint of love.  That is what the Love Not Fear Movement is all about.  I think all of us recognize from our diversity, we are not always going to agree,  nor am I am suggesting that we live in acalmPollyanna world.  However, when we focus our communication to others with love, we tear down walls, not build them. We lift people up, not criticize them. We disagree with respect, and learn from our differences.   We then break the Spiral of Silence

How do we build a community that surrounds us with the lovenotfearlogomessage of love?  Listen in and learn how Jeff Johnson is eliminating fear (and the Spiral of Silence) through the Love Not Fear Movement!   Because in the end…Love Is The Winner! 

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving? and the Executive Producer and Host of Healing Ties Radio. 

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Diploma In Hand


My diploma arrived today…WOW!  I am dedicating my diploma to Bernard Richard Schiffer and all caregivers with my pledge to continue to advocate for caregivers and their caree’s for as long as I live.  This diploma is for you, TLO!

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Graduate: A Thesis Complete


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin

The road to Spokane has come to a happy ending with the completion and acceptance of my thesis entitled… Spiral of Silence:  Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Workplace.   

Originally proposed by German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann in 1974, Spiral of Silence is the term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject.  My theory suggested that working family caregivers, fearful of losing their job, do not self-identify at work because they feel that they are in the minority.  I am happy to report that 75% of the respondents who indicated that they did self-identify at work found some form of relief.  However, 25% of the respondents who did not self-identify at work as a family caregiver, were fearful of losing their job or that self-identifying would be of no help to them.  I am very grateful to Denise Brown from Caregiving.com for allowing me to take part in Caregiving.com yearly working family caregiving survey.  Please feel free to reach out to Denise Brown at denise@caregiving.com if you have any further questions about the working family caregiving survey and how you might get a copy.

Of course there is much more to the thesis; we have more work to do to bring awareness to the epidemic of stress that working family caregivers face on a daily basis.

It is difficult to find the words to describe the feeling of earning a Master’s Degree GU_logoin Leadership and Communication from Gonzaga University. I love the Jesuit tradition and the spirit of Gonzaga. Professor Michael Hazel has been terrific throughout the entire process, as have all of the staff at the University. I will always remember Dr. Hazel’s sage advice at the beginning of the thesis in January, when my goals were bigger than the time frame, “The best thesis is a completed thesis.”  Michael Hazel knows his “stuff!” It is a good feeling to have the thesis completed, an even better feeling to now be an alumnus of Gonzaga.  It is nice to know there are life-long friends in Spokane, WA.

11410888-smooth-road-ahead-good-times-recovery-yellow-street-sign-1is84y6I am getting ready to embark on a new road, (one that is not virtual as was my road to Spokane); I look ahead with anticipation and excitement because I am creating a life to love after caregiving ends through writing, radio, travel and advocacy.

Leave your limiting self-doubts behind and go and grab the life you have always dreamed.

That is my new road to follow!

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving” and the executive producer and host of “Healing Ties” radio show  and a alumni of Gonzaga University!

 

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Bowling For (No) Dollars


Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.  Napoleon Hill

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Photo Credit: Neny2ki@blogspot.com

The road to Spokane got a little bumpy this past week as I ended up having to rewrite Chapter 2 of my thesis.   No big deal, other than it will make this week a little more hectic as I approach my next deadline of February 22nd for Chapter 3, but the road is  clear!   Within the next week, I will have a survey to distribute and will be asking many of you to take an anonymous survey on Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Work Place.  My good friend, Denise Brown at Caregiving.com has graciously offer to help in this process.    Everything surrounding writing a thesis is a process, even down to having the survey approved by the department.  It been quite a learning experience.

Approaching my fifty-ninth birthday, Richard’s 2nd anniversary of his life transition, and

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Now Future Past

writing my thesis has afforded me the opportunity to take inventory of the past while pondering what lies ahead of me in the future.  It’s pretty simple: can’t do anything about the past, not sure about the future, today is what is important.  Boy, did it take me a few years, and a lot of knocks on the head to figure this out and...to apply this little bit of philosophy to my life.   I thank my friend Sam for his sage advice, reminding me of the importance to let go and let live.

wp-1455587268733.jpgI know during Richard’s illness and especially the last six months of his life, all my attention was solely focused on him. (And I have no regrets!)  I constantly worried about tomorrow, along with worrying  about the past, while in the process of being attentive to the present. Whew…What a load to carry! Adjusting my thought process to focusing on “today” has not be easy, but I sense the transition in my thought process is changing.  Compassion fatigue is slowly withering away. 

Over the years while writing this blog, I’ve focused most, if not all of my attention of my writing about Richard’s illness and our life together. While I did the writing, Richard and I conversed regularly about the next topic to post on the blog.   This blog was one of the many things that we enjoyed doing together.  Now I write in memory of Richard, anticipating what lies ahead for me. 

I think one of the reasons life after caregiving has been so difficult for me is because my perceive purpose in life changed at the time of Richard’s life transition.  I am now just learning, thanks to my friend Sam, that is not the case.  My purpose in life is to take care of myself too.  Like so many other caregivers, my life got caught in the shuffle of the day-to-day responsibilities of being a family caregiver. You lose yourself in the midst of caregiving: somehow, one has to get their life back.  Sometimes you do have to look into your past to wp-1455586923324.jpgfind your future. 

Part of my past includes bowling professionally in the mid 80’s. Traveling on the Pro Bowlers tour was quite an exhilarating experience. Most people who know me today would be surprised to know that underneath my perceived laid-back personality, was (is) a very highly competitive, emotional bowler. When  asked about my bowling career, I always use a baseball analogy, “great at the Triple-A level, just could not get over the hump to be successful in the major leagues.”   (I will leave the reasons for that for another blog post.)  The last professional tournament I bowled was in 1987 in Baltimore, MD., and while I dabbled from time to time in league bowling, I have not picked up a bowling ball since I last bowled in a  league in 2001. That changed just a few weeks ago.

My friend Sam encouraged me to start bowling again with some of his friends who go to the lanes on a weekly basis.  Reluctant at first, (and fearful that my arm might fall off after my first throw), I decided to give it a go.  Since that first endeavor to the lanes a month ago, I have been bowling now 4 more times.  Even without my own bowling ball and shoes, I have had a blast and will look forward to getting in better physical shape so I can bowl more games this year.

I have heard some suggest that those who do not learn from the past are destine to repeat it. I understand the meaning behind this statement. What I have learned from my recent past is not to live in fear and isolation.   However, what if we looked into a part of  our past in order to help us find meaning to the present, and to our future?   Many people over the years have asked me why don’t you bowl?  Life-long bowling friends have said to me, “I can’t believe you don’t bowl anymore.”  Yet for some reason, my friend Sam got me to bowl again and I will be forever grateful because I learned a lesson about having fun again and more importantly, letting go of fear and isolation.

Sam is kind of in the same lane I am in, his partner of 19 years passed away in March of 2015, yet his grief process is different from mine.  That is to be expected!  However, through his grief process, he has helped me along the road to step outside my isolation and comfort zone.  Bowling was the key that has started the engine: Somehow I think Sam knew that! 

Now, I am not saying that I am going to go out and get in shape an bowl a few tournaments again.  But who’s to say that I can’t do that…I am not fearful anymore!  I bowled for a living for a number of years, now bowling has reminded me how to enjoy life again.  In planning your future after caregiving ends, take a step back and remind yourself to enjoy life to the fullest, even if it means taking a look at your past.  Along the way, I hope you find a Sam in your life to help open the lane for you to your present and future.

I’m not bowling for dollars anymore, however I am bowling to get my life back, which far exceeds any monetary  value.

Chris MacLellan is affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in many caregiving circles and  is the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” and the host of “Healing Ties” radio program.

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What’s On Your Bucket List: Caregiving?


We do not remember days, we remember moments.  Cesare Pavese

One of the great aspects of being on the road to Spokane is the anticipation of where the journey will lead me.  Sure, the end of the journey is graduation, but what about the road leading up to graduation? And more importantly, what will happen after graduation?   So many sites to see along the way,  so many people along the route to visit, so many more things to do on my bucket list.

Richard and I were fortunate that we were able to accomplish quite a number of things on our bucket list prior to his cancer diagnosis. Transatlantic cruises  were always tops on our list, and we had quite a bit of domestic trips, too. Lunch in a small mountain side cafe outside of  Arels, France;  hill top view overlooking the green and blue lake, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at Ponta Delgarda Azores; relaxing after a walk in Cadiz, Spain.

One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was in the planning!  We would sit down together and look at maps and plan the itinerary as best we could.  While we had a plan in place, we always left room to explore so that we can check off items on our bucket list.  It was fun for us to check items off our bucket list.  As I continue to plan my road to Spokane, it has come to my attention that my bucket is a little dusty.

dust-monitoringOh, there are many things I still want to do that were on our bucket list: visit the Grand Canyon, drive to Mount Rushmore, fly to Hawaii, more transatlantic cruises and a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.  Now it is time to dust off the bucket list!

One thing that was not on our bucket list of things to do was Caregiving.  I doubt Caregiving is on your bucket list, too!

It seems kind of strange to think about Caregiving as something that should be  on your bucket list because in essence,  no one really wants to be a caregiver. Caregiving just happens! It could be an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident. Who plans on being a caregiver? While all of our caregiving experiences are different, there is a part of caregiving that I think we all experience, the beginning and the ending, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life-changing events. We live in the moment of our caregiving journey while desperately praying for a miracle, hoping the next day will be better than the day before, then all of a sudden, it’s over.

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As I look back on our caregiving journey, I know now the good days far outweighed the bad ones. We might not think that way when we are in the midst of the caregiving trenches, but I have come to know that this is true. As caregivers, we sometimes get caught in the mindset that we can do this alone, or that we do not need any additional help. Along the way I learned reaching out for help was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Reaching out for help and being mindful of your own personal health and well-being is job #1 for all caregivers. Yet, easier said than done!

Asterisk_blackSo I think adding a little asterk at the end of your bucket list to include Caregiving is a great thing to do.  The asterk can be a subtle reminder to have all your legal documents in order, or to be mindful of the unexpected, but   most importantly-the asterk will remind you not to procrastinate and accomplish as many items on your bucket list as possible,  because before you know it,  the asterk arrives at the top of your list and your bucket list then starts to gather dust.

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” and the host of “Healing Ties” Radio.  The Road To Spokane is part of a Masters Thesis project leading up to graduation from Gonzaga University in Leadership and Communication.

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January 28, 2016 · 6:06 pm

On The Road To Spokane, WA


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

Over the next few months you will find me blogging quite a bit about being “On The Road To Spokane, Washington: Why you might ask?  In the summer of 2012 I begin a Masters Program in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga, University which is located in Spokane, WA.  Now, in the spring of 2016, I am set to graduate!  As you know, quite a bit has happened along the road on my way to Spokane.

GU_Sign_1I was attracted to Gonzaga’s Leadership and Communication program because of my desire to be involved in media.  I had started The Purple Jacket the year before I started the program at Gonzaga  and was about to start my first radio program, “Be A Healthy Caregiver” on Blog Talk Radio.   I ended up with 57 different shows on “Be A Healthy Caregiver” and like, The Purple Jacket, I was happy to share our story through different forms of media.  “Be A Healthy Caregiver” went off the air in the fall of 2013 when Richard’s cancer came back with vengeance, however, I continued to blog on “The Purple Jacket” which will always be our home!  Heck, along the way The Purple Jacket helped coin Richard’s nick name, “TLO: The Little One!”  Amazing, now approaching 2 years sincemarshall Richard made is life transition, I still get asked about “TLO.”  It reminds me of something that I have learned during our course study from media/communication scholar, the late  Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is in the message.”

My thesis  project will focus on Caregivers, Stress and its economic impact on the workplace. There is an estimated 43.5 million family Caregivers in the United States today and Caregiver stress is an epidemic that is not tracked by the CDC.  One of the outcomes of this project will be to demonstrate to the CDC that Caregiver stress is an epidemic that affects both our home and work environments.   One of the goals of the research project is to place a dollar figure to the amount of lost wages for the employee and lost income for the employer.  Unfortunately, government and businesses often do not take human interest problems seriously until there is a dollar figure attached to the issue.

As I get into the project, I will be using Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, Spiral of Silence Theory quite a bit in the process and will quantify the research with surveys to both family Caregivers and employers: I am excited to get going!

Caregiving has changed my life!  While I miss Richard quite a bit, I know through our decision to allow our story to be public, we have helped quite a number of people along the way.  I do hope this final project will bring awareness to the issue of the epidemic of Caregivers stress and bring attention to issues that family Caregivers face at work on a daily basis!

My goal during and after thesis project is  to create:

  1. The South Florida Caregiving Coalition, which will focus on Caregiving, Stress and its effects on the workplace.  This will be a Non Profit organization.
  2. The Whole Care Network, which will be a media website where Caregivers can access information from vendor through podcasts, radio show, video chats, blogs.
  3. My new radio show…Answers 4 Caregivers which will be the feature program of the Whole Care Network.  Answers 4 Caregivers will have two feature segments, Healing Ties dedicated to those of us who are now experiencing life after caregiving.  Our second feature is simple titled #BOW “Bring On Wellness.”  It is important for all of us to be mindful of wellness:  physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual.  These four pillars are the core components to the Whole Care Network and, what I believe to be, the road to a happy and healthy life!

While On the Road to Spokane, I am thankful for assistance from a number of people who will help compiling the data, most notably Denise Brown from Caregiving.com.  Denise has been, without a doubt, the kindest and most helpful Caregiving advocate I have met while on this

Two-lane highway in countryside

road to Spokane.  Denise  has helped so many Caregivers along the way, and has been a champion on the issue epidemic of Caregivers stress. If you are a family Caregiver, you need to be on Caregiving.com!

This is an exciting time for me as I move from my grief of losing my partner Richard  to cancer to, hopefully, helping to make a difference in our Caregiving community.  You can join us on the road to Spokane by sharing your caregiving experience on my blog and filling out our survey which will be available in February.

Thanks for traveling this road with me!

Chris MacLellan is the host of “Healing Ties” and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” which is available on Amazon by clicking  here! 

See our Pulitzer Prize nominated Caregiving story, “In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey by clicking here! 

Visit my new website “The Bow Tie Guy” where you can access all of our radio shows by clicking here

 I started a Caregiving Blog called “The Purple Jacket” which you can see by clicking here

 

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Caregivers and Servant Leadership


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

In November we celebrate National Caregiving month and it is always a good time to reflect and reconnect with good friends along the road during our Caregiving journey.  As I read through many of the national organization who are running promotions this month to signify National Caregiving month, I started to think about my role as a family Caregiver and what being a family Caregiver meant to me. Being a family Caregiver taught me a number of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson I learned was after Caregiving ended and Richard was no longer with us, and that lesson is the importance of self-care.   It is common for family Caregivers to lose themselves in the midst of Caregiving because our focus is so intense on our Caree.  Now 18 months after Richard made his life transition,  I am learning how to take better care of myself, (It is an up hill battle, that I will eventually win!)

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my masters degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection Caregivers have to Servant Leadership.  With my ministerial background and theology training, I had been looking forward to my class in Servant Leadership.  I was not disappointed.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While our class in Servant Leadership often focused on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I often commented in our classroom discussions about how Caregivers are Servant Leaders, because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feel a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion.  Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, while understanding wpid-wp-1419526540344.jpegthat people have to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing.  I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined with Servant Leadership and Caregiving. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, and do find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their Caree, while understanding that their Caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand because of the innate ability to think beyond our self.

In essence, we are all Servant Leaders in training and our training in Servant Leadership is on going, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I still in training, learning how to care for myself, while in the midst of being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Caregiving and Life After Caregiving is about Relationships, too!

I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family Caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.  I would do it again with him, all over, with no regrets!

Chris MacLellan is the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” and Host of “Healing Ties: Creating A Life to Love After Caregiving Ends.”

To purchase the book, simply click here! 

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Lost Dreams


Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. Napoleon Hill

Nobody can escape the agonizing losses that are part of our everyday existence —the loss of our dreams.  We had thought so long of ourselves as successful, liked and  deeply loved.  We had hoped for a life of generosity, service and self-sacrifice.  We had planned to become forgiving, caring and always gentle people. We have a vision of ourselves as reconcilers and peacemakers. But somehow—we aren’t even sure what happened—we lost our dreams.  We became worrying, anxious people clinging to the few things we had collected and exchanging with one another news of political, social and ecclesiastical scandals of our day.  It is the loss of spirit that is often hardest to acknowledge and most difficult to confess.  ~ Author Unknown

Never Give Up On Your Dreams

 

 

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