A Soul Chat About Doing What You Love to Do: Leslye Leaves Google

July 31, 2017

Recently, I was helping someone try to find what they love to do. We were having a soul chat. “Leslye” had left a prominent position at Google. The title seemed right on the external—that is, it seemed right to society.

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But it didn’t seem right on the inside, with her heart. Still, she questioned leaving. She put herself through such mental anguish. When truly what her soul was saying is, “This isn’t right.” We have to listen.

This was at a spiritual gathering, so I gave her some verses to study and think about deeply in her heart. Wisdom from spiritual practices help us connect with our own heart, our conscience, and our place in the world. Here is one I gave her:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG).

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How amazing is that, if there is a universe of good, watching out for us. A spiritual power taking care.  It’s important we hook into something much more meaningful that just the importance of our day to day. We need to be inspired that our lives are part of a greater plan, whether that is nature, the universe, or any type of spirituality.

As we encourage one another, we can make a difference. From Leslye:

“Thanks for your thoughtful response! I really appreciated the list of verses. The theme of having a plan has been a helpful reminder to continue to [have] faith and not let anxiety win.”

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“And not let anxiety win.”

That is so important that we don’t let anxiety win.  That’s not part of the package we were born with. We are born to be vibrant contributors to the world, filled with life, positivity, and a unique footprint.

Leslye’s doing great. But then Leslye questioned again. But she still didn’t want to go back to Google. She felt stuck.

So I shared:

“Remember, you left for a reason. Something wasn’t sitting right with your soul.  We really, as living a life truly alive, can’t ignore it. You can come be present with me. I understand and you won’t feel “so weird.” I get it! :)”

We all need people we can be with on our unique pathway.  So if you are forging out and doing something different, find some likeminded innovative thinkers. It’s a tender stage.  Why is it so hard? As Leslye states:

“We often don’t see all of the challenges and rough patches that lead to the external successes; I was especially encouraged by examples of all the times you persevered through hardship. Similar to your experience of hopping, I’ve gone through three jobs in 4 years. I find myself often beating myself up for leaving Google, but I found comfort in your advice to keep going and keep trying — to view things that don’t work out as lessons and steps toward finding something that fits. The post on Personal Happiness (quote from J.K. Rowling) also resonated with me. One of the things I struggle with and find hard in a place like Silicon Valley is distinguishing between my achievements/resume and identity. I aspire to develop a greater focus on my qualities and how I can help others, rather than my resume”

–Leslye, regarding the piece “Rough

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Wow! What lessons we can learn from Leslye.  You, and she, were given gifts to utilize. You’re not supposed to bury it. So keep working on your talents… the universe wants that. The universe is not looking at your resume!

Thanks again for your inspiration, Leslye. We are cheering you on to realizing your gifts in life!

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Pamela Positive Throwback: To Have a Positive Mindset: Think about Building your Mind as you would your Dream Home

12/10/2010

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home!   So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

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So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level… if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as in many countries pollution blocks the sun. That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping.

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Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

World Trust

World Peace is a hard word. We all want it; we benevolently strive for it. But how can you create “World Peace”?

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I am not sure one can “make” peace. How do you manufacture it? I am not sure one can “create” it.  Out of what materials?

What we can do is build World Trust. We commit to developing long-term relationships based on trust. We work towards helping others achieve their goals as well as our own. We see a larger landscape where everyone is living fruitful lives, where each good action positively impacts another.

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If we focus on World Trust, then World Peace can result. Peace is based on Trust.

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This is where stereotypes burn out. Groupings on ethnicities, race, gender fall away.  Why? Because we know the person. We have a personal relationship with them.  Sometimes, it as simple as building a well in a community together, playing on a sports team together, going to school together.

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Join me on building World Trust. So that we can have World Peace.

Living and Giving Throwback: I Told Harvard Business School I Take Walks, I Take Naps

October 3, 2011

I returned from an amazing Harvard Business School event, called the Dynamic Women in Business Conference. They have maintained the highest levels of leadership, and dynamic examples of women leading such diverse and wonderfully fruitful lives.

I was honored to present with other strong women leaders on our panel on Social Entrepreneurship, which had almost no standing or sitting room. People wanted to soak up social entrepreneurship, caring so deeply about living lives devoted to the good of our community. What an inspiration to see.

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What I found so amazing throughout was the diversity of women’s lives. There was Lillian Lincoln, the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Business School in 1969. A 53-year-old gay woman from Microsoft, Anna Collins, adopted 13 month old twins, balanced with leading a major department at Microsoft.  Single mom Annette Pelliccio was a pioneer in the organic gardening industry, while also taking care of her two children. There was the effervescent Sarah Endline from SweetRiot’s confections who incorporated community by sourcing from indigenous people, and featuring local artists on the labels. As you can see, a feast of women living productive, meaningful lives.

Just reading the above paragraph makes me filled with awe at the productivity and devotion of such active women. They are doing so much good for the world, and yet many of them are also maintaining families. It’s not an easy balance. I think it will be one of the most challenging questions women face as we strive to lead meaningful lives at home and with work.

Work and Life Balance most certainly came up. At first there was a groundswell that it wasn’t possible. I had to venture in here, delicately so, as I am not a mom yet, but do aspire to be. I can speak about my balance today, but not yet for the future. I hope I will make peaceful, wise, inspired decisions that bless all the people in my life, when that time comes.

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So for my life today, I had to tell Harvard Business School, “Sometimes, I take naps.” And let me tell you why.

Every Sunday I go down to the Peninsula to be with my cherished parents. They have been together 48 years and are what I would call “best friends with a spark.” It just works. They are kind and loving and caring, consistently. I talk with them both most every day, if not multiple times.

We just, quite simply… enjoy being together.

It’s a profound statement, I believe, not to be overlooked.

I keep telling myself, precious, precious—that’s what time with my parents is. Don’t take a moment for granted. Cherish your time.

So I do. Every Sunday I head down to church to hear my mom read, as she currently leads the service. It’s very precious to hear her speak about a spiritual foundation and to be read to by your mother. As adults, we don’t often get that luxury of a mom reading to you, which is so precious during childhood.

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Then we come back and we have lunch together. We may talk outside on the patio in the sun, or, take their Golden Labrador Daisy for a walk around the block. Or, we might go take a nap.

That’s right.

If UniversalGiving, the organization I lead, grows slower because I choose to spend my weekend with my parents that way, then so be it. I cannot sacrifice that time together, in the name of our community, in the name of social entrepreneurship. These are the people I care about most. I love the most. Who have loved me the most. Who kept me going and inspired during the most challenging of startup days.

Then we then usually have dinner together, and I head back up to the city.

It’s blissful.

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It is exactly right to state that “I am who I am because of my parents.” And so I am going to take that peaceful time with them as precious, and guard it like a type of spiritual gold. It’s what “makes me run,” and it’s what makes UniversalGiving succeed. Protect your time with whoever is family to you.  No email can compete. Don’t let it.

Activate Faith, Not Fear

February 25, 2018

We all face challenging times… whether it’s a report of an attack (such as the very recent terrorist attack on the headquarters of a Yemeni counter-terrorism unit)[1], a stumbling of a relationship with a sister, a student not getting into the school that they wanted to, or a business partnership that ends after a decade. All of these things can make us fearful of losing — rather than having faith in Life and faith that goodness will win.

I love what leader Joel Osteen has to say on this matter:

Fear and faith have something in common: they both ask us to believe something is going to happen that we cannot see.”

He continues on:

“You know, all through the day we have a choice to either believe that [goodness] is in control and good things are in store, or we can go around worried, negative, expecting the worst.”

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What’s important to realize is that we often get negative suggestions pummeling our thought. They present:

  • “I might get a B-minus on a test that I believe I should get an A on”;
  • a son that won’t open up and share what’s happening in his life
  • “I’m not good enough for the business opportunities ahead of me.”

But we have a job. Our true job every day is to believe in the best, expect the best, hope for the best, and watch for the best in every aspect of our lives.

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“If we’re looking for the good, you will find it.”

—Grey T. Full

This is where we need to be weighing in. This is where we need to be putting our faith. This is where we need to put all of our energy so that we believe for the best.

From experience, I don’t know of any company that’s built on negativity. I don’t know of any family that is built on harmony, while focusing on negative things… We have to believe in good and search for good in order to realize good in our lives.

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At the same time, we have to take a stand, strongly, against the negative suggestions. Don’t let negative suggestions become negative reality.

I love this story from Joel Osteen about his grandmother:

“My grandmother on my father’s side was a very feisty woman. She was raised out in the country. She reminded me of the grandmother out on Beverly Hillbillies.

Later in life she went to a doctor. He said ‘I’m sorry Mrs. Osteen, but you have the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease.’

This did not sit well with Grandmother Osteen.

She didn’t even know what Parkinson’s disease was, but she knew enough that she didn’t want anything to do with it. She bristled back, got a real serious look and said

‘Listen here doctor, I will not have it. I refuse to have it.’

She went home that day full of faith. And do you know that she never did have Parkinson’s disease? She lived out her days in good health.”

So that’s what I’d ask all of us to do, for you to do, for me to do, which is to:

  1. Look for all the good, be excited about it, exonerate it, glorify it, and speak about it.
  2. Identify the negative suggestions, take a stand against them, and refuse to let them become negative reality.

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Many people in life often ask me what their purpose is. Well, it certainly isn’t a job, a career, or even family. It’s about living goodness at every point that we can.

Let’s go do this today. Activate faith, not fear.

Please share with me the goodness in your life and how you’ve taken a stance against a negative suggestion. I’d love to hear from you!

Living and Giving,

Pamela

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[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/24/two-car-bombs-kill-at-least-six-and-wound-43-in-yemen-city-of-aden

Harvard Business Review Demonstrates: People Who Dream Can Achieve More Successful Results in Real Life

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, there was an incredible result related to dreams vs. “real practice.” It was found that those who dream can make a difference in their daily life.

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For example, people who practice in real life increase their success rate by 15 percent. Yet those who dreamed also had an impact by 8 percent — even though they didn’t practice in real life. Those who did nothing  saw a 5.5 percent increase.  Those who failed to dream, and therefore could not experience playing, reduced their efficiency by 2.5%.

The article brings up an interesting point. Does that mean that we can make our stomach muscles stronger by dreaming about them? They actually conclude that it can. Daily practice is a must for continual improvement, yet a dream can still have some influence.

For me, the big take-away is not so much about dreaming, but it’s about the powers of our thoughts: what we think, what we believe, can strongly impact what we experience in our day-to-day lives.

Join me in thinking more optimistically each moment. Onwards we go!

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Remembering Frederick Douglas: A Champion for Blacks and the Values of America

Frederick Douglass was an incredible 19th century leader who was the son of a female black slave and a Caucasian father. Yet he was a fortunate slave, as he was taught to read, which was a special level of empowerment for any slave at that time. Just after his teens, he was able to escape the family and went up North.

He built a name for himself by empowering audiences through his inspirational talks about the importance of treating each person as person of utmost value, equal and unique.

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Douglass, Frederick
Frederick Douglass, c. 1850.
National Park Service

Frederick Douglass brought together the fabric of America: it was an America ripped apart by North and South views; belief in slavery as an economic vehicle; racist versus embracing of all humanity — a nation filled with hope and promise of true democracy and cut apart by hypocrisy. Douglass had crowds of people following him and listening to his loud and inspiring speeches. He was a formidable man.

At the beginning, he was not a great supporter of Lincoln, as Lincoln did not seem to take a strong stance for abolition. But as the cause became clear, he helped Lincoln and his views of what America was created to be: a country of humanity, a country of justice and fairness, and a country that was filled with people of all colors. Douglass became a champion for the values of America — working hard, ethics, the importance of family, and the pioneer life. One black abolitionist and friend of Frederick Douglass called him “The Representative American Man.”

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Frederick Douglass continued his call long after slavery became abolished. He was a leader not just fighting for black equal rights, but also for the rights of every American both in his time period and for time to come. We limit Douglass by saying he was a champion of black rights. He was also one of our highest leaders espousing the ideals of what everyone wrote that America would be in the Declaration of Independence, and what we hoped America is today.

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Thank you to leaders such as Frederick Douglass, who tackled critical issues of their day and helped pave a brighter, freer future for us all, no matter what issue we face. He took a stand for the values of America!

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Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland. He was separated as an infant from his slave mother, never having known his white father, and went to live with his grandmother on a Maryland plantation. At age eight, the plantation owner sent him to Baltimore to be a house servant for Hugh Auld. Auld’s wife eventually defied state law taught the boy how to read. Later, Douglass became a field hand and then a ship caulker. In 1838, he fled to New York City and then Massachusetts, where he worked for three years as a laborer and changed his name to Douglass to escape recapture.

Douglass was particularly eloquent and became a famous intellectual. Though he faced mockery, insults, and physically violent attacks, he continued to advocate for the abolitionist cause. He went on to advise Lincoln during the Civil War (1861-65), advocating for the war to directly confront the issue of slavery. During Reconstruction (1865-77), he also championed causes such as full civil rights for freedmen and women’s rights. He passed away February 20, 1895.

Learn more about Douglass in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.