Day of Service Honors a Memory, Fulfills a Dream and Heralds an Historic Inauguration


Photo from NBCNews

Audience member savors inauguration




Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day takes many forms for many people. I’ve always liked to focus on King’s call to all of us to serve.

When Obama said on Jan. 4th, “America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together,”  in a White House press release, it had a familiar ring.

In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy urged us, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

In his Feb. 4th, 1968  sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” King said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

The call to service is easy for all

The great thing about being of service is you don’t have to go far to offer it.

You don’t need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

The call to service is accessible to all

  • One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.
  • When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice. I will always appreciated her spontaneous and generous mentoring.

During the National Day of Service on Jan. 19th people could sign up for local projects or pledge to host an event at  or sign up here to serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • Nancy Dixon, a junior at Quincy University,  cleaned and organized book shelves, while other students painted walls and cabinets at Quanada.
  •  Volunteers from all walks of life assembled personal care kits for U.S. service members at the D.C. Armory.
  • The Golden Gate National Parks Program invited volunteers to sign up for various tasks in California national parks.

Don’t fret if you missed participating on the 19th. Your community offers daily and year-round service opportunities.

The call to serve has many dimensions

While part of your goal is to earn a living, serving others must come first. Just as King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom, so must you fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

There are infinite ways to earn a living. The career or business you choose must be the one that fills a need within others and brings deep satisfaction to you. Even if you are working on a job that is just a stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

When you help others you help yourself as well. Click to tweet

To serve, King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

May Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a reminder to you to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out your interactions with your loved ones as well as your communications and exchanges with your job or your clients with integrity and joy.

The call to serve is the theme of an historic inauguration

To have the 2nd inauguration of President Obama occur on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday reinforces the power and reach of the office and the impact it has on many people

Big inauguration, tiny Aretha hat. on Twitpic

Big inauguration, tiny Aretha hat from 2009 inauguration @katyperry

Going Through v.s. Going Around

vicandjazzy2In her blog yesterday, Being Joy-Being Enough, blogger Joy Tanksley so generously shared about  her day.  It started off upbeat but took a downward turn when she let a negative comment about her introductory video dampen her spirits and almost ruin her day.

I set out to encourage Joy by leaving a short comment, but as I wrote, an article spilled out. From Joy’s experience I got reaffirmation of the importance of going through painful feelings rather than trying to go around them, so I’m sharing the full comment I left on her  blog.


Hi Joy,

I applaud you for shar­ing your feel­ings with us because we all strug­gle with dips in mood and con­fi­dence when we receive out­side crit­i­cism. The sad­dest part is that it works to unearth our self-criticism often hark­ing back to past mem­o­ries such as you men­tion about your cheer­leader days.

When we share your story it helps us get in bet­ter touch with ours.

You were so wise to have stayed with your painful feel­ings by cry­ing, reflect­ing and ana­lyz­ing. We are often too quick to stuff our pain and cover it over with tem­po­rary feel-good. Look at how it empow­ered you and now your read­ers for you to have “gone through” rather than “gone around”.

I love your spirit and energy, and espe­cially am happy that you decided to bypass per­fec­tion and take pos­i­tive action instead. The best part about blog­ging is the oppor­tu­nity it gives us to share our mag­nif­i­cence with the world with­out hav­ing to con­vince an exec­u­tive board or cre­ative team that we are wor­thy. Many peo­ple are wait­ing to hear the uplift­ing mes­sage that you and other life coaches share. You are help­ing to heal and empower the world in a way that’s never been pos­si­ble in his­tory until now.

The harsh crit­i­cism from this trou­bled stranger hurt at first because you’re human, but look at the les­son that you learned from it that you now share with us who need to hear it also. Anyone and any­thing that tries to con­vince us that we are not ok, that we’re not enough is lying. We each came to the world to share a spe­cial gift. Like each lily in the field we are dif­fer­ent, but beau­ti­ful and pow­er­ful in our own way.

I’m guilty of start­ing my day on a high some­times, and then let­ting someone’s off com­ment or my own self-criticism dampen my spir­its and send me spi­ral­ing into ugly guilt or shame. Because I grew up with such strong insis­tence from my par­ents and elders that I be a “big girl” and “toughen things out”, it’s not easy for me to cry. When I do, how­ever, I ben­e­fit tremen­dously. I think of tears as wind­shield washer that clears the win­dows of our soul, enabling us to see what was blocked by lay­ers of muck.

Of course your video is per­fect for con­nect­ing with your clients, not every­one in the world, but your right­ful and perfect-for-you clients.

Keep danc­ing and being joy­ful and help­ing us do the same. It is your mis­sion. Thank you for accept­ing it.




I hope you now agree that going through painful feelings when they crop up (and they will,)  is better than trying to go around them. After all,  when we go through there is a clearing on the other side full of hope, joy and renewed energy.

Are You Making These Six Socializing Mistakes?

IMG_4088When you are fortunate enough to be on the guest list and agree to attend a social event, how you behave at the event will determine if there will more invitations in your future.

Socializing is more than just showing up. It involves interaction, communication and engagement. Before you attend your next social event, ask yourself if you make these six socializing mistakes.

Then before you head out to the event, vow to correct them.

1. Arriving empty-handed

Even if the event is not a potluck or a special celebration, it’s still a good idea to take a small gift. It does not need to be expensive nor lavish. Flowers and wine are popular, but you are not limited to these choices. A gift the hostess can enjoy after the event, such as a relaxation gift basket, is often welcomed. If you know the hostess personally, then use that knowledge to take something that will have special meaning for her.

2. Talking about yourself

You may well lead an exciting life, but a social event is not the time to announce to every attendee that you were just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Chances are many already know that. The rest don’t care to hear it recounted. Instead, listen to the guests you meet and learn about their lives and activities.

3. Clinging to the person you came with

It’s very tempting to clutch to the arm of your date or spouse at a party or social event, especially if you don’t know anyone else in the room. But that’s no fun for your partner and is very off-putting for the other guests and hostess.

Ease your way to the food table or bar and cordially greet the most approachable person you can spot. Chit chat will do for a conversation starter. Again, resist the urge to talk about yourself, and get the other person talking about themselves instead. Getting to know others at the party will be more fun than you think.

4. Eating and drinking too much

Arriving at a party starved is not recommended. Unless the event is a sit-down dinner or a buffet, chances are the food is mainly snacks. Eat and drink moderately so that you can engage in conversation without food oozing from your mouth or your speech starting to slur.

5. Leaving without telling your hostess

Before you leave, seek out and say thank you to your hostess. There’s no need to make excuses. The hostess didn’t expect nor want you to move in.

6. Failure to follow up

Even though you said thank you in person, send a card or email to your hostess after the event. Attach copy of pictures you took since hostesses don’t always hire a photographer or remember to have someone take pictures.

Some of these tips may seem old-fashioned, but good manners, decency and courtesy never go out of style. Avoiding these six mistakes will add to your happiness and increase the likelihood that you will be invited again.