People amaze me.

I am a people person. I am fascinated by other individuals. What makes them tick. What inspires them. What makes them do the things they do (whether good or bad). Really each of us have our own modus operandi — and that is what I care about understanding. I want to know what fuels people to live their lives. What creates a fire in a person, what calls forth their badass self.

Due to the fact that people amaze me, I have also been called out for staring. Yes, I stare. I want to learn everything I can about someone. From what they wear to their accent, to how they treat others, to how they get the job done, to how they relax. It all matters to me. Ever last bit. I learn a lot from others. Sometimes it is poise, other times leadership, sometimes it is patience, or passion, or humor, but I believe that everyone is on this earth to teach us something. Often we do not even know what it is they are here to teach us, but we know that they are meant to be in our life for a reason.

What if we tried to suck the learnings from every individual we encounter each and everyday? We could learn a lot. Not just what we want to be and do, but what we do not want to be and do. I learned a lot from my parents and how I did not want to live my life. Maybe that has made me more cautious and maybe that has meant that I have often taken the safe route, but what I experienced with them meant that I had a life with constant unknowns (food, electricity, etc). All I wanted was to know that I would have the basic essentials every day. If I have that now, then generally speaking I am good to go.

Can you tell that about people? Can you tell what they need? Is it words of affirmation? Patience for their life situation? Humor to get them through the day? Whatever it may be, we each need something different. We each are amazing, and need each other to be our best selves. How are you helping someone else be amazing today?

A giggle, a cackle, a gut-deep laugh

I love hearing laughter, especially the full body kind that you can feel in your bones, that can be contagious. I love hearing my niece laugh. I am adamantly addicted to her and cannot go for more than a month or so without seeing again. She is growing up so fast. I vicariously see her through the videos my sister sends to me. She sent me a video of Charlie a few days ago (at 13 months) trying to put on her socks and shoes. She was like her Aunt Tami — relentless. She just kept trying and trying. It was so precious to watch her try to fit the shoe on her foot, and then open the velcro, and then when that still did not go on her foot, she tried her socks.

I am head over heels in love with that little munchkin, and one of the things I love most is her deep and utterly free laugh. So when I saw this video of this baby and dog, I instant thought of past videos of Charlie. The squeals of joy that come out of that baby!

X

What is not to love? Especially how similar it is to a much younger version of Charlie (maybe at 6 months)? I also included it below.

X

Irresistible right? I just want to eat her up. While I do not get to see her every day, I wonder as she gets older if it will be harder and harder to get her to giggle like that from head to toe. If only we could all giggle and laugh like that throughout our day. We got a bit slap happy at a work meeting yesterday where a few of us had tears in our eyes from laughing, but that at times is the closest we get to that uncontrollable laughter of a baby when they find something funny. Let’s try to laugh more.

Strangest Online April Fool’s Day

What was up with all the email marketing messages on April Fool’s Day? It was as though all the past years of my life April 1 did not happen. I do not remember a recent year where I received a marketing message about April Fools. Here is a random list of what I received (or heard about):

_A message from Redbox featuring a new product: Petbox, all the movies were pet renditions such as “Fifty Shades of Greyhound” or “Paws”
_A Facebook friend stated they received an email from West Elm that said: “Thanks for the recent order” — which linked to a furniture sale. Wonderful West Elm, put fear in your customer’s mind that they had been hit with identity theft. I wonder how many folks made purchases after receiving that email?
_Orbitz email subject line: “No joke” — but then the body of the email had nothing to do with the subject line
_6pm.com email subject line: “These deals are not a joke”
_Gap email subject line: “haha”
_Ann Taylor Loft email subject line: “Today, nothing’s on sale” — body says “April Fool’s Everything is 40% off”
_Banana Republic email subject line: “It’s no joke, 41% off”
_Clymb email subject line: “This is the smallest sale ever” — email body says: “Yeah Right.”
_Amazon homepage went retro showing an early 2000’s version of what their site would have looked like. I honestly thought they had lost it.
_A local Apple dealer sent out an email advertising a new product called “The Awesome.” Check out the link and you will get the joke.
_At work, an announcement went out that construction on a parking lot was halted due to the discovery of an ancient settlement and the artifacts found. Once you read about the “artifacts” listed you knew it was a spoof.

Did some massive digital announcement go out to marketers to make 2015 the Year of April Fools? I have never in my life seen so much focus on it. I find it odd actually. None of the direct marketing emails I received were really even funny at all. Come on world, we can do better.

No More Complaining

Often I think we do not even realize we do it. We complain about how little sleep we got the night before, the guy that is driving too slow on the road, how a co-worker treated us. We might complain about the wilting lettuce that came on our salad, or how cranky we feel. It is almost second nature for us to complain. I am just as bad as the next person. I think about it though. I try to watch myself and see when I am complaining. I wonder what life would look like, feel like, or sound like if we did not complain. Would we all sound like Pollyanna?

This Fast Company article, “What It’s Like to Go Without Complaining For a Month” is an interesting idea. I know it would not be easy to do, and yet why not? Does the Pollyanna vibe feel odd to us because someone who does not complain feels fake? Does that mean that our society is so immersed in the idea of agonizing over the hand that we were dealt, that it is almost very strange to imagine not sharing our qualms, experience, and drama with our co-workers, family, and friends? Is it the drama that encourages to complain? Or is it the storytelling and community that comes along with going into all the gory details of all you went through getting your take out last night at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant?

Often I think individuals do not realize they might be complaining. We are all storytellers at heart. I am an addict of a good story. I love to laugh and while I am not one to make fun of someone’s misfortune I do love when a story weaves and explores what someone might have had to go through – even if it all happens in the process of complaining.

While I do not think I have it in me (yet) to go an entire month without complaining. I am going to *try* to be conscious about my complaints. For someone who is very free with my thoughts and what is on my mind, I could do a better job filtering the complaints. I should probably spend some time thinking about the list of ideas in the Fast Company article that are tips for complaining less.

Are you with me?

Say what you want to say

“Say what you want to say.” I love this line from a Saturday Night Live skit. How many times in life do we say what people want to hear? Do you want to go out with me? Inside you are saying: “I am too tired, you bore me, I just need some time to myself.” Instead of being honest with others, we say yes, we go, and sometimes we wish we had just stood up for ourselves and said no. This skit shows how exhilarating it would be if we just said what we were really thinking.

X

Do you feel invigorated after watching? While I am someone who is more often than not going to tell you no and be completely blunt and direct about it. However, even for me there are times when it feels awkward, or when it feels like it is the right thing to do to say yes and go along with things. Usually when we are in those situations we feel how wrong our decision was and that we should have listened to our gut the first time. It is better for us all to: “Say what you want to say” rather than say what we think others want to hear.

What do you think?