One of my favorite stories is the children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco. If you haven't read it, this would be a great time...and please share it with the people who matter most to you. It's a tale about being REAL; about LOVE; about being TRANSPARENT; about LIFE; and the benefits of AUTHENTICITY. We have a choice in life, and that is to either build walls around who we really are and what we really feel OR to be vulnerable and expose our real self, the one we were truly born to be. You probably know the difference.
Some people have a self-constructed shield of protection. They are guarded, by choice. They protect their emotions, their true feelings, their whole being. Yet, other people voluntarily expose their inner core, allowing others to see them from the inside out, and to live life as if they are here to make a difference. The truth is, they DO make a difference.
I have met thousands of people in my career as a training professional over the past 20+ years , and it is those REAL individuals who truly make a profound impression on others. At the Office Dynamic's 2011 Annual Conference for Administrative Professionals in Las Vegas this past September, I facilitated a breakout session where the participants, in their small groups, were asked to share an experience in life that taught them a lesson. Based on that experience, they were to share their advice, or what they learned, with the members of their group. It was amazing! With many participants, there was an instant connection, a bonding, a comradery that took place between strangers. I believe that when we become real, we become "one". It is a sacred experience to discover that we, as human beings, are really all the same inside. But we will never know this experience if we aren't "real". So, this holiday season, take time to "get real" and feel every moment of our human experience!
Below, is a brief excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit. Following this selection, I have compiled the "advice" from the participants of the breakout session from the conference. Enjoy!
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
- Be strong and know that you are important and your strength can enlighten those around you, personally and professionally.
- Our timing is not always God’s. When troubles hit, usually you are not alone. Trust that better things are waiting ahead in the future. Bottle the love, take sips, and shine!
- There is no better life than yours. Live it to the fullest.
- Even when things seem dark and bleak, try to discover the lesson; learn from it and take heed to those lessons. Remember and use them when that wonderful new opportunity comes. It’s not “wasted” time if you learn from it.
- You have to appreciate yourself and be happy with the person you are.
- When you know your spiritual gift, you may have to try several ways of expressing your gift before one really sticks!!
- Have faith in God, faith in yourself.
- Trust in yourself. Believe in yourself! Have faith that something positive will happen.
- I shared that I had a child at 15 and also got married. It was a very huge, sudden change that shaped my future instantly. It made me who I am today. I am stronger, wiser, more spiritual and blessed because of this experience. My son, who is now 23, saved me and together growing up, we saved each other!
- Get enough sleep before driving.
- Trust in yourself. In every negative there is a positive. Have a good network of friends.
- Keep a constant, positive belief of what you want as if it already happened – it takes time, but IT or something BETTER will happen.
- Trust your inner voice. Never give up! Share your experience so that others may benefit.
- Be a fighter when you need to be!
Watch for the rest of these tips throughout the rest of the month, many were shared!