Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are over in the United States. Christmas and Kwanzaa are on their way. This is the time of year when we get so busy with so many things that we can lose site of priorities, meaning, and gratefulness.
But it does not have to be. It can also be the time when we hug those we love a little closer, make the world a little better, and move forward into a new year with the determination to make it better.
Almost two months ago now the Philippines was devastated by the worst typhoon in recorded history. This was just a couple weeks after being hit by an earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks. This came close to home for our business and family as one of our team, Grace, lives and works in the Philippines.
In getting to know and working with Grace this year I have been so impressed with her work ethic, her attitude, and her ability to triumph over adversity. She has been the most amazing addition to our team, and I am not sure how we functioned without her. In short, people always ask me how it works to hire from the Philippines and ask me if I would recommend it and I can't recommend it highly enough! (As a side note we used Chris Ducker's Virtual Staff Finder to find Grace which was also a great experience.)
What You Can Do
Sad to say, we in the west seem to have a short attention span. While people in the Philippines are still trying to meet basic needs in some areas, we are most concerned about the lines at the mall to get our shopping done. So in the midst of all that, see if there is room to help those in still in need.
When I asked Grace about aid organizations, sadly a lot of help that goes to the government and even some charities never makes its way to those who need it most. If you know someone in the Philippines, the best thing to do is help them directly if you can.
Otherwise, the Red Cross is one organization with a track record that is helping people on the ground.
Building a Better World
But, as there always is, there is a bigger issue here. We live in one of the most amazing times ever in human history. The ability to virtually eliminate poverty, homelessness, hunger, and environmental damage are within our reach. So many technologies exist to build sustainable housing, energy, and food supplies, and more are created every day. Education on almost any subject (even from top Ivy League universities once only open to a select few) is just a click away on the Internet.
So will you join with me? Help, now. Do something in the Philippines to bring relief there in the short term. But don't forget about the long term.
Every dollar you spend and every choice you make has an opportunity to make the world a fundamentally better place, or a fundamentally worse one. What you do matters. You matter. You can make a difference. The more of us that do, the better off we all will be.
Guy Kawasaki recently posted a link on Facebook to Decker's Top Ten Best and Worst Communicators. Some of these are sure to be remembered for a long, long time ("legitimate rape" anyone?), but yet how many of us work on our communication in any real way?
As we make all of our New Year's Resolutions this year about all the things we want to improve, how about adding communication to that list? It is the one thing that affects every single other area of our lives. It can make the difference between success and failure, being liked or being hated, sharing your message with the world or being ignored. And it is one thing we just can't afford to ignore.
And like I always tell my clients, goals mean nothing if they are not SMART. So here are some achievable things you can do to get you on the right track.
1) Join your local Toastmasters Club
2) Add some books to your reading list about communication such as:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions Are Really Telling Our Children
How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleWhat Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People
3) Ask those close to you what your communication strengths and weaknesses are and be ready to listen!
4) Improve your social media habits by creating a consistent routine to build relationships online.
What would you add to this list? What other books should be on everyone's reading list this year to improve communication?