Superpower for Everyone

SuperHeros-shutterstock_225400357-500x486I was recently asked, “What is your superpower?”

I scratched my head and said, “I don’t have a superpower.”

The person smiled and replied, “If you did have a superpower what would it be?”

Again, I looked dumbfounded and said, “Superpower? No idea!” And then I turned the question back to them and asked, “What superpower do you think I have?”

The person laughed and then said, “You are the Super Supporter.”

“Super Supporter! That’s not a superpower.”

Without a pause, the person said, “Superpowers provide us with abilities to help others in unexpected ways. And you are one of the greatest supporters I know.”

A couple of days have passed since that conversation, and I haven’t been able to shake it. I am a little overwhelmed that someone would consider me a super anything much less a super supporter. Not being modest just surprised.

The dictionary meaning of a supporter is a person who approves of and encourages someone or something (typically a public figure, a movement or party, or policy). Some of the synonyms are champion, advocate, backer, defender, crusader, apologist, ally, and helper.

How does this definition show itself? When thinking of the characteristics of a supporter, I think of a cheerleader.

Some years ago I read the book, “What Happens When Women Pray” in which the author, Evelyn Christenson, compares supporters to the crowd that would sit in the balcony of a theater many years ago. These balcony people would cheer loudly for the good guy and give boisterous boos when bad things happen. This same rowdy group would call out warnings when danger was near. It is hard to imagine a better picture of a supporter.

Over the years, I have worked hard to encourage those around me. I not only look for something good in everyone but try to express it to them. When criticism is necessary, I try to make it not a personal attack but an attack on an action or event that is wrong. I try to be a balcony person.

My supporters have helped make me who I am today. I have been blessed to have many supporters come (and go) in my life. They provide me encouragement to tackle new projects, challenge me to see life from different perspectives, and keep me going when I want to cry.

“Super Supporter” is a superpower we all have inside of us; the question is if we use it.

How Are You Measured?

Exceptional RatingDoctors measure all sorts of health related things – weight, blood pressure, etc. These measures are based on tests and scales, pretty well accepted across the board as a good way to measure our health.

Employers measure your effectiveness with performance reviews. Questions are raised to the validity these reviews due to the subjective nature of the measures.

Schools measure your ability to learn with various tests. Arguments abound that these tests are not a good way to measure a student, but none the less, tests are used to measure learning.

The government measures your ability to pay taxes, through your ability to pay taxes – sales, income, property, social security, etc. In theory, the more we can afford, the more we pay. With good tax planning, our tax liability can be reduced so it isn’t an effective way of measuring our financial capabilities.

But a measure that always makes me smile is the LinkedIn measure of my business profile. I’m an “All Star,” which is the highest ranking. Does this mean I’m someone that everyone should want to get to know and learn my secrets to becoming an “All Star”? Not really. The only reason I’m an “All Star” is that I have gone thru the hoops to provide information, posts, and befriending people. I’m not necessarily an outstanding person; however, based on this measure everyone should be clamoring for the opportunity to be one of my followers. (Hysterical laughing taking place as I write this.)

What if my profile is only “Advanced”; does that mean I’m a lesser person than the “All Star?” Or, heaven forbid, if my profile is found to be only “Intermediate.” Who wants to be a connection to someone who is only an “intermediate?”

We all forgive a “Novice” after all, they are still learning and will be looking for an “All Star” to follow – like me.

Resolved or Go with the Flow?

NeFireworksw Year’s Resolutions definitions:

  • Dictionary definition of a Resolution: 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something; 2) the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
  • Mark Twain’s definition, “New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Which definition applies to you? For me, most of the times I fall in line with Mark Twain. On occasions, I have made New Year’s Resolutions and more times than I care to admit I have failed to keep these resolutions. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about new goals for the year. This exercise in goal setting is beneficial even if I fail to reach the goal. Looking at where I want to be, helps me formulate steps to get there. Now taking the steps is where the truth comes out about my resolve to change.

I set the goals, map out the steps for success and begin. Sometimes I am successful, and at other times, I take only a couple of steps towards the goal before abandoning it. But by abandoning the goal, I have decided it’s not worth my time or energy. If that goal is health related and I choose not to follow the steps, then I have decided that my health isn’t a big priority or that I’m OK as I am, but I have decided not to improve.

New Year’s Resolutions help focus us but when we choose to ignore our own good advice and plans are we doing the best for ourselves?

Happy New Year to all.

Growth is Not Comfortable

Schemeekly Path“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” Unknown.

Be honest for a moment, you prefer to be in your comfort zone. We all do. Where is your comfort zone? It is the place, the activity, the time when you feel you can relax and handle whatever comes your way.

This zone is many things – security, reaffirming, peaceful, etc. – but what it isn’t is growth. When we accept (or are pushed) a new challenge, we grow. This growth is uncomfortable, it can challenge your perceptions and causes you to wonder if you are up to handling the task or wonder why you accepted it.

The growth process is scary; it is much easier to stay in the comfort zone where you know what is going to happen. But once you start the process it can be exhilarating. The thought you don’t know what is going to happen, that you are changing the way you think and act, trying new things, and the admiration others share with you for being so brave. Wow! It’s like a “Superman” high.

When you finally complete the task, you find several things. First, you aren’t the same.  Whether it was a good or bad experience, you are changed by it. Second, you have confidence that you can handle the task, and it can become part of your comfort zone.

A couple of times when I got out of my zone were entering the NaNoWriMo and publishing my book Canyon Riddle. The scary part of the NaNoWriMo was the question of whether or not I could write 50,000 words in 30 days. I found I can. Canyon Riddle is a novel for adults (or at least not a young child). I am comfortable writing children stories, Bible studies, and such but a novel for adults? That was scary. But since then I have written three more adult stories, and I know that I can do it again.

One of my latest growth opportunities is I am learning to knit. That may not sound scary to anyone but at my age (I remember when the Beach Boys were young) learning a new skill that you have spent most of your life avoiding, is not easy and certainly is not in my wheelhouse. But as I knit, purl, and unravel over and over, I see small glimpses that I can do this, and my comfort zone is expanding.

Every time I step into an unknown situation, I grow. Not all the experiences are pleasant, but I do learn from them. Where there is an unpleasant outcome, I try not to repeat it. That is also growth.

So the next time opportunity presents itself to take on something new, give it a whirl. Keep those brain cells active and grow your comfort zone.

Words to Live By

17-17When asked for a quote that I try to live by, I’m quick to respond with this Bible verse. As a child, I learned the first part of the verse – “A friend loves at all times” – and thought that was a great thing. When we are young we are taught to be friends, treat each other nicely, to share, and such. All of these things are good ways to live your life.

This verse fit nicely into my childhood ideas of what a friend was/is – someone I can count on, someone who laughs with and not at me, a secret keeper, a companion when causing trouble. I had very few friends growing up that met this criterion.

As an adult – yep, it took me that long to look at the complete verse – I discovered the second part of the verse – “…and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Now that gives an entirely different meaning to the proverb. The first part is much easier than the second part.

What does it mean to be “a brother”? A brother (or sister) is family. Family loves you regardless and is there to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you when times get terrible. The family is where you turn to carry you through, sometimes to provide material needs (shelter, food, etc.), and always to provide moral support.

I know from first-hand experience that sometimes blood relatives fail you. This verse is talking about the person (and usually there is only one or two in your life) that is there regardless. Land in jail – they show up with bond money and a lawyer; so sick you can’t get out of bed – they bring the chicken soup; so sad or happy you have no words – they are the ones that instinctively know the right words (or no words) to get you through.

So how do we find this “brother” for our time of adversity? That isn’t the point of the Proverb. The point is, are you the “brother” for someone else’s adversity? This is the way I try to live my life. More than a fun-loving, trouble making friend but that I’m the “brother” someone can rely on at all times.

 

Armed for Battle

IMG_1559It’s November, end of the beautiful fall colors in my area of the country, cold weather is creeping down from the north, and it is the start of short daylight hours. Just thinking about going and coming home from work in the dark depresses me. Watching the sun set at 4:00 is difficult but knowing it won’t be above the horizon until after 7:00 adds to the sad feelings I get. But the bright side to all this darkness is hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate is what I crave when the daylight gives way to darkness. I am sure this is my body fighting off the depression caused by the lack of sunlight, officially called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. I don’t have SAD, but I become moody and uninvolved with long periods of no sunshine. Which really bothers me since I’m usually an upbeat person.

That brings me back to chocolate, loaded with substances that cause the brain to release endorphins – the feel good chemicals. The problem with chocolate is it tastes so good. It takes only a small amount of chocolate to activate the happy endorphins, but your mouth wants more, which overloads the brain. So how to find the perfect balance. For me, it is a cup of hot chocolate. It is hot which means I have to drink it slowly giving me a longer time to enjoy the flavor, and it is a controlled portion of chocolate that keeps the brain happy.

So bring on those long dark winter days, I’m armed and ready to take it on.

Are Pet Peeves Worth the Trouble?

IMG_1426“I don’t have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation.” Whoopie Goldberg

At first this quote might not make sense, but look closer. It is a fun play on words that makes me smile. I like the clever use of words – even puns that make me groan. But this ramble is about the subject of the quote, not the cleverness of it, but that may come later.

We all have things that irritate us. I get irritated about people leaving empty paper rolls on the spindle; empty cartons put back in the refrigerator; towels dropped on a restroom floor after they have been used to open the door and such. Most of the things that get under my skin are things I consider rude.

As I have gained life experiences, my list of pet peeves has grown smaller, which might surprise many of you. I find I am more tolerant of other people’s habits than I used to be. Also, I have learned I can’t change anyone but myself and I put more value on my time now than I did when I was 20.

Letting someone’s rudeness ruin my day is my choice and I prefer to put my energies towards having good days. But sometimes, it just happens. The driver that changed lanes without signaling (yes, another one of my pet peeves) will get the best of me. All the way to work I fuss about his bad driving habits, so when I arrive my attitude is not pleasant. This attitude is picked up on by my co-workers and supervisors, they walk around me and talk in soft voices. Now I have ruined another aspect of my day.

When you are faced with an irritation how do you react? Does your response affect your entire day? It was an “Aha!” moment when I realized I am not responsible for everyone’s bad habits only mine. I was freed from worrying about every insult to my senses and given back time for useful things – like writing.

I am not perfect, but I do try to not let daily irritations rule me.