Tag Archives: self growth

The Classic Pamela Positive: Give A Gift Every Day

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I hope you enjoy a new audio version of this blog!

Give a gift every day.

Send your friend’s birthday gift early.

See a gift that would be meaningful for someone you care about, and just buy it. Give it to them now.

Take the time to cook a meal for your partner or your roommate.  Take the time to cook a meal for yourself.

Smile at a person walking down the street.

Smile at a homeless person and stop and learn their name. There is the gift of knowing someone. Of acknowledging you care.

Be kind to yourself.

Get in bed early.

Say three gratefuls before you fall asleep.

Say three gratefuls when you wake up.

Believe today is special.

Take time at lunch to be grateful for three more things.

Pay the phone bill for your roommate.

Drop off banana bread for your neighbor.

Give a lot. Expect little.

Smile at yourself in the mirror.

Work hard and attain the gift of devotion to something you believe in.

Work and leave early and give yourself a gentle night off, nurturing yourself.

Stop and look at nature. Any part of nature. The expanse of the sky; drifting clouds; a vibrant flower.

Give yourself the gift of awareness of how precious and beautiful life is every day.

The Pamela Positive: “It Is the Open-Mindedness to Little Things That Brings Human Success.”

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What a wonderful story which shows how we can all be resourceful. We can figure out a different way to achieve even our smallest needs, and maintain a positive outlook. Look up, look around, and use what you see!

It’s there for us all…It’s already been provided.

***

I said to a relative of mine, who was a professor at Harvard:

“I was cold all the time I was there, and I shivered so that my teeth shook”.

Said he: “Why did you shiver?”

“Because it was cold.”

“No, that is not the reason you shivered.”

Then I said: “I shivered because I had not bed-clothes enough.”

“No, that is not the reason.”

“Well,” said I, “Professor, you are a scientific man. I am not.

I would like to have an expert, scientific opinion now,

why I shivered.”

He arose in his own way and said:

“Young man, you shivered because you did not know any better!

Didn’t you have in your pocket a newspaper?”

“Oh, yes, I had a “Herald” and a “Journal”.”

“That is it. You had them in your pocket, and if you had spread one

newspaper over your sheet when you went to bed, you would have

been as warm as you lay there, as the richest man in America under

all his silk coverlids.

But you shivered because you didn’t know enough

to put a two-cent newspaper on your bed, and you had it in your pocket.”

It is the open-mindedness to little things that brings human success.

***

Russell Conwell (February 15, 1843 – December 6, 1925) was an American Baptist minister, orator, philanthropist, lawyer, and writer. He is best remembered as the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and for his inspirational lecture Acres of Diamonds. The son of Massachusetts farmers, Conwell attended Yale University and after graduating enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1880, and delivered his famous speech “Acres of Diamonds” over 6,000 times around the world. The central idea of the work is that one need not look elsewhere for opportunity, achievement, or fortune – the resources to achieve all good things are present in one’s own community. Conwell’s capacity to establish Temple University and his other civic projects largely derived from the income that he earned from the speech. The published version has been regarded as a classic of New Thought literature since the 1870s.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.” – John Wooden

woman-591576_1280“Make each day your masterpiece.” — John Wooden

Unmatched. That’s what Coach John Wooden is asking us to be.

To live a life unmatched each day — which is a masterpiece — means living according to your values.

When I usually think about a gargantuan goal, I think of something more along the lines of an Olympian. Yet it doesn’t always mean running (or winning) a marathon.

It is being your own masterpiece. That means today, you live with kindness in all the minute interactions you might have. It’s not just about doing your best, yet also treating others your best.  You, your being and presence, are the kind masterpiece that positively affects the world.

From living your masterpiece as an individual, and on this basis of values — only then can you paint another masterpiece. Pick a passion… be it gardening, being an excellent bookkeeper, being elected to office, writing a short story, exploring the best hikes and appreciating nature… And step by step, create excellence. Get inducted into your own hall of fame.

But remember, the greatest hall of fame is… treating others your best.

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball coach. He was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (inducted in 1961) and as a coach (inducted in 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach.  He was married to Nellie Riley for 53 years, and they had two children.  After Nellie’s death, John had a monthly ritual until his own death 25 years later, of visiting her grave and writing her a love letter.

***

I’ve recorded a spoken version of this blog. Enjoy!

 

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Before You Can Give Yourself Away, You Must Have a Self to Give.”

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“Before you can give yourself away, you must have a self to give.” – Isabel Hickey

Similar to George Gurdjieff’s commitment to self and spirit before serving others, Isabel Hickey realized that we must put ourselves first.  In so doing, we become strong and committed to giving ourselves the best, and then we can give our best selves unto others…

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Isabel Hickey was an American astrologer and writer who practiced Humanist Astrology with a psychological approach. If Evangeline Adams was the Mother of Astrology in the first half of the Twentieth Century, Isabel Hickey filled that role in the Sixties and the Seventies.  She wrote “Astrology, A Cosmic Science,” “It Is All Right” and “Minerva or Pluto, The Choice Is Yours.”

The Importance of Relationships

The Power of a Relationship. 

Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of a full relationship. Often, we think about someone being in our life for one, single reason.  But that’s not actually true.

In fact, every conversation, every relationship affects dozens, even thousands, of other people.  That’s right, thousands.  

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When we talk to someone, we affect them. We might ask them to do something.  That affects someone else, or even a group of people.   Even our tone can affect them: If you’re down, they might feel it. If you’re positive, you might lead them to a more peaceful state of mind.   How you affect them will affect how they treat the next person.  Every conversation is part of a chain for good, or stress, of joy or negativity.

You can make every relationship,  lead to something greater.  I want to give an example of that today.

I’ve known Chris Towle for more than 10 years. He is a significant funder of ours. But he didn’t start out as a funder.

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I like creating relationships that relate to the whole person.  This is because I want to have a long-term relationship with them, which is based on them and not just money. After years of watching us, Chris donated from his family foundation, and then in subsequent years, donated stock.  So I don’t usually start fundraising from people after two or three years; then they know I value them for who they are.  Sometimes, I don’t even have to ask; they just give.

The relationship now extends into positive marketing for UniversalGiving. Chris and his wife are involved in Principia, where they invited us to speak at a conference. So you can see we’re building a long-term relationship, attaining funding, getting his company involved to give funding, and also helping with marketing. This isn’t just about a funding request.

I encourage you to think about this. How can your build positive relationships that go further than one person?

Let’s take a look at companies.  If you’re trying to attain a new client, is it just about closing a new deal?  Absolutely not.

First, it’s great to have a positive client.  That’s wonderful.  You can add to that.  We have such a positive relationship with Cisco, that former Cisco employees join UniversalGiving as a Returnee . How wonderful to get team members from Cisco!

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In addition, we can sell in our gift certificates to them: For the holidays or performance reviews, they provide gift certificates to their employees. Then, we both promote each other on social media; that’s marketing. So if you look at that, there’s a corporate contract, returnees, gift certificates, and increasing donations on our site.  Pretty spectacular!  That’s certainly beyond one conversation, one relationship.

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So as you move forward today, know that one conversation can lead to another.  This kind of mindset can build so much good for the future.   Are you stressed? It won’t draw more people to your cause.  Are you positive?  Then you can be grateful for the great partnership you have, and expand it.

Sincerely,

Pamela

 

Rough: A Social Entrepreneur’s Journey

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I’ve often spoken about my journey in finding my calling. I am so fortunate to love what I do, every day.  And with that gift, I want to vigorously help others.   I am passionate about serving UniversalGiving every day, helping people connect with quality ways to give and volunteer all across the world.

I am equally passionate about helping others find something they love to do.  It lights up your life. You become the best, most sincere, intelligent, fun, and delightful person if you can engage with your calling.

People hear me speak with joy and clarity about my calling, yet they think my life to social entrepreneurship was easy.

It was the “Rough” of my life.  It was excruciating. I fought to find work I loved to greet every day.  There were some really, really low times, over many years.  In fact, I don’t like to talk about it, because I enjoy focusing on the positive.

So “Rough” is in response to many people’s request:

“Pamela, tell me what it was like. I don’t know where to start. I need encouragement.

“Can you help me?  I need to know I can make it…”

or

“Pamela,  you had it easy.  I wish I could have found my calling as you did!  You’re so lucky.”

I write this for all aspiring social entrepreneurs. Persevere in getting to know yourself and carve out your pathway.  You will find it. Even if takes years. It’s worth it.

Just as we should love who we marry, we should love what we do.  I’m still working on that first one. So for all you moms who crave meaning, and come to me dying for a purpose, I have that purpose, and I also will be grateful to find what you have too: precious family and children. We deserve both, and we can help each other.

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If you hear me speak or read my writing, I focus on the positive. It’s imperative to be a solid, move-forward-and-make-it-happen entrepreneur, and a happy person. I am grateful for all the good Life has opened up unto me, in conjunction with the human effort and striving I put forth.

But if you need to know my journey, so that you know it is possible for you, I will share. Here is where my story started. But my vision of social entrepreneurship didn’t manifest itself until 14 years later. And I am still working on my next vision of serving… stay tuned.  Team, we don’t stop growing, ever.

An Entrepreneur’s Journey

There are people who are bootstrapping on a vision. And there are people who don’t yet have a vision. Both are in a glorious battle.

One is striving to achieve and live their vision, to build a new way of doing things in the world. The other, I think, is in more pain because they haven’t yet found that calling.  At least the former, despite formidable pressures to launch, fundraise, hire the right people, (fire the others who need to be the right people elsewhere), fight legal battles, meet payroll, is in love. They like their day to day.

I can’t emphasize how important this is. If you dread each day, feel dead in your skills, and unappreciated, it starts to wear off everywhere else. It impacts your whole life.

Build towards vision, positive growth, enthusiasm every day. This is what you must do. Equally important is who you surround yourself with. You are building your future right now. No, it is not off two years from now, or 20. Your future is everything you put your thought and energy into, right now. And right now, and now, and…now.

ROUGH: Try

So you have to keep trying.

I leave four jobs in two years out of college. I am in sales for a company for one year.  I am out of work for a year. All my friends are on a track, on track: MBA, Doctor, Lawyer.  I feel embarrassed. I am from a smart school, with smart colleagues, and I don’t feel like I am living a smart life.

I pick up any jobs I can, while still trying to pursue a love-of-my-life calling.

I work for a man who wanted an executive assistant but says I don’t deserve to be paid. He says I’m too green. I work for the experience anyway.

I work as a step aerobics instructor. I am hired and pushed out as a waitress by a frustrated restaurant-owner in Venice Beach.  I always wanted to serve others, but my hands shook while I carried the plates.  I volunteer with alcoholic men in Skid Row, helping them with life skills. I interview to sell insurance. I do real estate research for an independent couple, a marketing brochure for a nonprofit. I do all I can to provide for myself and try to make it.

Still, all the while, I was learning more about our international world, understanding social entrepreneurship and helping pave the way. I studied The Economist, read about the world, prayed, cried and asked for my life to be used.  On my knees I prayed and cried for it. The drive was that strong, as was the depression in not finding it. Ask my roommate at the time – who is now UniversalGiving’s COO. She saw it all, and it was excruciating.

I see an idea.  I get inspired and do the full business plan for a Gift Basket company that would give back to nonprofits, early CSR before I know it. I sneak into a manufacturer’s conference for Gift Basket vendors of 1000 people, to find out all the suppliers of foods and gifts. I prepared inventory, storage, a marketing plan, and first customers.

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And then…

I had to give up.

It just didn’t feel right.  I just wasn’t prepared to do this on my own. I needed a partner.

I was devastated.   I had started… another non-starter in my life.

I called my Dad and let him know I was abandoning the Gift Basket business plan. What would I do next, he asked?

I thought…..I might like PR.  That’s the thing…you often just don’t know.

You have to try, and believe all the things that don’t work are gearing you exactly into what does work.  Don’t worry.  Keep going.  Keep trying.  Learn.

I tried to get into PR. I was told I didn’t have any experience. I was told I didn’t have an internship on my resume.

So I went — and got experience, for ten days. I got into Chiatt Day, and beat out college teens for an unpaid internship. After a week-plus, I put it on my resume, and was then able to get a job with a PR agency because I had ‘experience.’

I entered data for them. I was praised with the company record of stuffing the most press kits. I was so mind-tired, so exhausted by not using my mind, that I had to run up and down the stairwell to stay sane.

I went from sales, to being out of work for a year, to odd jobs, to a 10-day internship at Chiatt Day, to 8 months at a PR firm, into a Masters in broadcast journalism.  I hopped and hopped.

Then I met Peter Samuelson, and he helped change my life course. He was doing it, and he really lived.

ROUGH: Your Calling

How Do You Get There Once You Know What It Is?

Just because you have a calling doesn’t mean there is an easy way to get there.

At the age of twelve, I was struck with an early vision. In my post “To Be of Service,” I speak about witnessing poverty in Mexico with my father, and how that changed my life. It set me on a pathway to service and ultimately entrepreneurship.  However, the challenges to get there, and to understand my unique path as a social entrepreneur, were many.

I had always been very entrepreneurial. I loved to create little businesses. For some, there is a time when we move from being an entrepreneur, to being a social entrepreneur.  Peter Samuelson, film director and founder of Starlight Children’s Foundation, encapsulated that pivotal moment for me.   I first met Peter through the Leadership Institute, started by management leader Warren Bennis at USC Business School. Here’s how Peter sparked me on my path.

While the thread in my life was about helping, I was having a hard time finding an outlet. At the time, I was in graduate school, heading into broadcast journalism with the goal of changing the tenor of media news.  I wanted to see a world where we could emphasize positive developments in our world.

It’s not that we ignore the tough situations, but the murder rate is not always going up. There are places it has gone down.  Positive solutions helped get us there. Why not cover that news?

If you focus only on the negative, you’ll stay there.  Move into the new world you envision.  But news directors told me it wasn’t possible. “We operate off of eye candy, what will bring the most viewers. What you’re proposing doesn’t drive eyeballs, Pamela.”

So I was feeling blocked again. Four “careers” in four years. Now what do I do?

Peter got up and spoke about “entrepreneurial philanthropy” or “social entrepreneurship.”  “We need to make a difference in a strategic, business-like way, while serving our communities!” he proclaimed.  He essentially galvanized us with his relentless passion. I’ve never seen anyone speak like that.

My heart dropped. Tears filled my eyes. At that point I was going through my mid-life crisis at age 25. And in an instant, I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a social entrepreneur. Peter brought my vision of how I wanted to serve – with compassion and business principles – to life.

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The relief, the joy, the glory…to know… that I was made to be a social entrepreneur.

I left the Leadership Conference and ran to a payphone (yes, a payphone) and called my Dad, “Dad, Dad, I know what I want to do!” I excitedly explained. He listened with joy and support as he always does.  “That’s great, honey!  And…how…do you get paid?”

Rough.

Social entrepreneurship was not a developed concept — let alone a field. There were NO:

social entrepreneurship blogs or books

social entrepreneurship job listings

social entrepreneurship events, certificates, programs, classes…

or  degrees….

or conferences.

Or thought leaders.  Or experienced social entrepreneurs, proven track records, or just any example.

Now try explaining to everyone you want to be a social entrepreneur.

“You mean a social worker?”

“What’s a social engineer?”

“Oh cool!  Wait, what do they do?”

“Oh… well, good luck with that.”

It was lonely.

What was the next step?

While still excruciating, that year I found the right people and the right idea. VolunteerMatch came into being. It was a ‘lucky’ confluence of the Web (I love scale), do-gooderism, and providing a solution to people finding quick, accessible efficient ways to volunteer. Even then, it still wasn’t my full calling, because it wasn’t global. While grateful, I had more work to do to find my true purpose.

So while I was struck with a wonderful devotion in life, it took years to manifest it. Four to reach VolunteerMatch. And then for my true calling, international, through UniversalGivingthat would take ten.

Ten years.

What you have to remember is, every passionless dead-end is still a precious part of your process.

You must commit to serving and helping others in your current situation, even when you don’t want to be there.

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In so doing, you commit to good values and build your strength. You also meet helpful people. You meet people you can help.

You learn many valuable skills. In my case, sales, PR, broadcast communications, international on the side.  All of those experiences came back into play in my effective governing of UniversalGiving.

This fight to find what I love to do, enabled me to go through my midlife crisis 25 years earlier than most. I am clear, pure and passionate about what I do and the meaning in my life. It has led me to fight for others, so they can have this too.  I am almost equally passionate about UniversalGiving, as I am about helping people find their pathway in life.

I wake up in love to live each day.  I know what it means to me, and I don’t take it for granted. Every day I get to help others, with my heart and with my mind, for the community and in business. That is what I get to do with a wonderful team. Every day.

So my efforts to serve certainly started with poverty, but now extend into striving to be a great social entrepreneurship leader; and to be available for anyone who would like to talk about their pathway. I hope to serve not just my industry and global social entrepreneurship, but also the entering leaders, to help them.  One of the greatest joys has not just been being a social entrepreneur, but also helping pave for others, for our social entrepreneurship industry.

ROUGH: Continue Giving

In my final notes to all of you who wish so sincerely for this meaning…

Please, don’t give up.

DO NOT give up.

The joy you will find is lovely, fruitful, fulfilling. It is life-giving to yourself and others. It will build you in ways you will never imagine, and bring the right people into your life. And it might be much simpler for you. If so, cherish it.  We all receive our challenges in life, in different ways.

Mine wasn’t an easy journey, but it was filled with joy despite the challenges. Making it big is not about money.  I am “wealthy” because of the joy-filled, purposeful life that I lead. I am alive, not just because I breathe. I am alive because I truly live.  I hope I can help others become “rich,” too.

From Rough to Joy.

Dear reader, I hope this helped you. It wasn’t easy for me to write, but I did it.

Love, Pamela

A Letter To My Son…Who’s Not Working (Part 2 of 5)

Letter 2 of 5

This is a five-part series of letters from a loving parent to a son. The letters demonstrate how parents can love and support their children during transitional periods. As young adults build their own identity and search for employment, a parent’s kind words can assist them in their journey.
Read the first letter here.

Dear Son,

I know that in the past couple of years, we have struggled with college. As your father, I feel it is important to set you up with tools to succeed so that you can be a strong, educated individual who can provide for himself, and if you want, a family. These days, life can be very competitive and I want my son to not only survive but to thrive and succeed. Therefore, in my humble opinion, having a college degree is most important. It not only helps you attain the best jobs but also attain greater pay.  

But I’ve realized lately that this might be my wish, and not yours. It might be a time to take a break from studies. You’re now 23.  There are many years and courses to go until you finish college. It doesn’t seem you’re that motivated to do so.

Maybe it’s time to take a different approach. Just please know that my strong efforts in the past to help you regarding college were out of love. I want you to have a strong and positive future.

Remember while I’ll always love you, I won’t always be physically present on Earth. I think about that, Joe. I want you to be able to provide for yourself when I’m not here. So thank you for understanding when I have gotten involved in your life — it’s because I love you, and sometimes I get worried.

Click here for the next letter in this five part series.