Get Bitter or Get Better
At age 16, Angie Cranor survived a terrible car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. One night while lying in her hospital bed, Angie realized she had a decision to make: whether to get bitter or get better. Angie chose to get better and has been a wonderful mentor to me and thousands of others. You’ll meet Angie this month, along with some other amazing people who’ve used life’s lemons to make lemonade.
We all run into problems from time to timesome big, some not so big. One way to stay balanced and maintain a BE NICE attitude is to separate the issues from the non-issues. I would never attempt to dictate what your non-issues should be; I can only decide upon my own. However, I challenge you and myself to be very clear about which issues are important and which ones can become non-issues. When you choose to let things go and make them non-issues, not only do you release other people to be who they are, you also set yourself free.
A lovely, funny, powerful motivational speaker named Rita Davenport used to say, “If money can fix it, it’s not a problem.” For example, although parents may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their sick child, money may not fix their little child’s health issues. That’s a genuine problem. Although governments may spend billions of dollars on security and defense, money can’t eliminate the hatred and racism in the world. Those are genuine problems.
Angie and the others you’ll meet this month show that even genuine problems are no excuse for bitterness. We may not be able to choose our experiences, but we can choose our reactions to them. I hope this month’s newsletter will inspire you to always choose “better.”
Thanks for helping me live my fantasy of spreading this BE NICE message and giving nice people a voice!
BE NICE News
Gulf Coast Oil Spill: How You Can Help
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service
As the government mounts a full-scale effort to respond to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, there are ways that volunteers can help. The response to this spill will be a long-term effort, and as the situation evolves the roles for volunteers are expected to change. You can find volunteer opportunities by visiting the Corporation for National and Community Service Web site at http://www.serve.gov/oilspill.asp.
Get Involved Locally
The affected states have been a driving force in the response effort and are working to identify and coordinate the use and placement of volunteers. Anyone wishing to volunteer should register through one of the state service commission Web sites listed below. Additionally, BP has set up a volunteer hotline for individuals who want to help at (866) 448-5816.
Please note that there is a high demand for trained volunteers with Hazmat, oil cleanup, and wildlife rehabilitation training. Because oil is a hazardous material, volunteer opportunities are limited for unaffiliated, untrained volunteers. Some activities for untrained volunteers include pre-landfall beach cleanup and monitoring the coastline and reporting contamination of wildlife or vegetation.
For the latest updates on the oil spill and response, please visit http://DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com.
The EPA is tracking the environmental impact: http://EPA.gov/bpspill
Salons, beauty schools, groomers, fleece farmers, pet owners, scout troops, school teachers are sending hair, fur, feathers, fleece, and nylons to Matter of Trust to be made into hair booms that soak up spilled oil: http://www.matteroftrust.org
A BE NICE Story
Do you have a BE NICE story to share? Send it to stories@BeNiceOrElse.com. If it appears in the newsletter, you’ll receive a BE NICE T-shirt and CD!
Here’s a wonderful letter from someone who chose better over bitter and went a step further: she chose to be grateful for her health challenges and to help other people along the way!
Five years ago, at age 47, I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease after having suffered its symptoms for years. Celiac disease is an autoimmune response to gluten; the immune system thinks it’s a poison, and in response, attacks and destroys the lining of the gut. The only “treatment” is to remove gluten from the dietkind of like stopping a pain in your hand by no longer hitting it with a hammer.
At first I found it easy to change my diet, as the lack of debilitating gut symptoms was such a relief. After a couple of years, though, I found myself feeling pissed off about not being able to eat what other people eat. And besides, no matter how strict I thought I was with my diet, blood tests continually suggested that I was still consuming gluten. Then I seemed to develop some kind of neural problem. I felt like I’d been to see a dentist, but instead of getting an anesthetic injection in my mouth, I’d gotten one that affected my whole headmy brain felt anaesthetized. Lots of specialists later, my gastroenterologist explained that I was experiencing “celiac brain fog,” a challenge to my memory as well as my day-to-day thinking. [In addition,] my gut also suffers from fructose malabsorption.
A very patient dietitian taught me how to eat a low-fructose (as well as gluten-free) diet, which has really helped. A couple of weeks ago she called to ask my permission to give another chronic sufferer my phone number. After talking with the lady for quite a while about her diet and ways she could try to improve it, she asked what I do, thinking (I guess) that I was some kind of specialist. When she realized that I’m just a celiac who’s figured things out the hard way, she asked, “So you just help other people because they need help?”
“Yep,” I replied, “if I can’t use what I’ve learned to help others, then what good am I?” And as we ended our phone conversation, I remembered again how grateful I am for what I’ve been through and what I’ve learned in the past five years.
Regards to you and all at Be Nice (Or Else!),
Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia
Monthly Audio Message
Dale A. Jones, Sr.
With a strong message of “Leadership from the Heart,” Dale A. Jones, Sr. became president and CEO of GE Clinical Services, Inc. in September 1999. This $200M business is the world’s largest biomedical service provider and an affiliate of GE Medical Systems. In 2001, Dale joined United Healthcare, where he served as senior vice president of the Franchise Performance Group and chief operating officer for the South division. Dale joined the beauty industry in 2005 and quickly made a significant impact as the owner and/or business partner of three cosmetology schools and one salon. A devoted husband and father of two teenagers, Dale also serves as senior pastor of Perfecting Faith Ministry, a nondenominational church in Antioch, TN.
Interviewed by Winn Claybaugh, Dale delivers a passionate glimpse into the responsibility of leading with compassion, giving the gift of your presence and attention, and creating a magical workplace culture where people feel accepted and loved. An effective motivational speaker, Dale shares the inspiring story of how he overcame his humble, poor beginnings in Jamaica and a debilitating speech impediment in his quest to become successful. You’ll want to share this valuable interview with everyone you know: your family, your spouse or partner, and even your kids’ teachers.
CLICK HERE to discover the secrets of true leadership and the common mistakes most leaders make.
If you enjoyed this month’s audio message, CLICK HERE to join the thousands of subscribers all over the world and receive MASTERS Audio Club for just $12.95 each month.
Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho, Angie Cranor had a normal childhoodplaying basketball, riding her bike, and hanging out with friends. At age 16, Angie survived a terrible car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. One night while lying in her hospital bed, Angie realized she had a decision to make. She had to decide whether she was going to get bitter or get better.
After returning home from the hospital, Angie continued her high school education, was crowned homecoming queen, and even walked across stage with the help of leg braces and a walker to receive her diploma. Today she’s a hairdresser and a featured speaker whose powerful story inspires others to get better, not bitter.
Because Angie chose to get better, she has been a wonderful mentor to me and to thousands of others by preaching things like, “If your dream is big enough, the facts won’t matter.” “Always remember that you can do anything you want, no matter how big the obstacles may appear.” “The accident wasn’t a bad thing. It was just a difficult thing that has made my life better.”
Listen to this month’s Featured Audio to hear Angie’s amazing story in her own words. I’m sure she’ll inspire you as much as she’s inspired me for many years.
NEXT-ing Bitter People
Some companies fire people. In my organization, we call it NEXT-ing. We believe in unconditional love, but we do not believe in unconditional employment.
Years ago, when someone asked me what I looked for in hiring someone for my company, I’d ramble off this big, long list: They need this much experience, this type of education, and these degrees. Now I just say I want people who are nice and who have desire. I’ve hired people with amazing résumés, education, and experience, but if they were a bit mean-spirited or bitter, I couldn’t work with them and I wasn’t willing to expose my staff to that mean, bitter person for eight hours a day.
You’ll attract positive employees to your business by building a culture that acknowledges, supports, appreciates, develops, and retains positive people. Build it and they will come. A company that does not “build it” will eventually lose wonderful, positive employees.
I once had an employee who seemed as though she’d been weaned on a pickle. You know the typesour, bitter, mean; the type of person who quit your company two years ago but just hasn’t left yet. I used to think it was my job, as a business owner and leader, to fix and change my people. I have since learned that in business and in personal relationships, it is not my job to fix and change others. But back then I thought it was, so I plotted, pleaded, begged, and schemed to fix this bitter woman. Five years later, she was still the same. Finally, I fired her.
Within two months, three phenomenal, talented, hardworking, passionate individuals came knocking on my door, looking for a job. My response to them was almost, “Where were you three years ago?” But, you see, I had not built an environment that would attract talented, hardworking, passionate people. I had built an environment where a mean, nasty, bitter woman could stay employed for five years. Was I doing her a favor by letting her stay in my company? No way. And the minute I NEXT-ed her, we were able to attract wonderful people.
Be Nice, No Matter What
It’s easy to be nice when everyone’s nice to you, but when someone isn’t nice, you sometimes want to feel bitter and irate. Perhaps you don’t have much control over what happens to you in life, but you do have control overand are therefore responsible foryour reaction to what happens to you. You can change your perception of the experience.
Let’s look at an example, such as being written up for a speeding ticket. First, remember that police officers are just doing their job, which is to keep you safe. If you like being safe, you probably want them to continue doing their job. You might even want to thank them for doing their job while you’ve got them for this captive audience.
Second, consider yourself lucky for all the times you weren’t ticketed and probably should have been. (Admit it: you’ve sped before, rolled through stop signs, and probably been guilty of other violationsand you’ve gotten away with them.)
If those two thoughts aren’t enough to change your mood, here are a few BE NICE attitude adjusters to help alter your angry state:
- Tell yourself that the policeman or policewoman could be having a bad day, and the universe sent them directly to you to cheer them up.
- Remind yourself that they’re doing the best they know how to do in that instant, just as you are.
- Tell yourself that the policeman or policewoman has a young, sick child at home. (This may or may not be true, but that’s not the point. You’re looking for quick attitude adjusters here.)
- As the police officer approaches your window, quickly recite your BE NICE mantra, such as “Thank you God,” or “I like myself.” How about one from Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, such as “I release the pattern in me that created this. I am at peace. I am worthwhile.”
Remember, your speeding ticket interaction is a relationship with another human being. All relationships are pass or fail exercises. The more fails you have, the more times the universe will send you those same relationships and experiences (more speeding tickets) so you can learn to get them right. The more passes you have, the happier you become.
Quote of the Month
“Every person has the power to make others happy. Some do it simply by entering a room; others by leaving the room. Some individuals leave trails of gloom; others, trails of joy. Some leave trails of hate and bitterness; others, trails of love and harmony. Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism; others trails of faith and optimism. Some leave trails of criticism and resignation; others trails of gratitude and hope. What kind of trails do you leave?”
William Arthur Ward
Winn Claybaugh’s Be Nice (Or Else!) The Newsletter!
Copyright © 2010 by Winn Claybaugh. All rights reserved.
Editor: Gail Fink