Dear Difference Maker,
I’m going to be straight with you today about what really needs to happen to make things better and make it happen now.
The stories in this week’s blog beautifully illustrate how anyone can make a positive difference that has an exponential reach and it only requires something as simple as a preference.
What if acknowledgment really could make it completely better in an instant? It’s my hope you are intrigued enough to take a hot second to find out!
Reaching out …
Make It So ’18-’19 – Positive Acknowledgment Works!
Excerpt from Make A Difference Power of Acknowledgment UTrain Curriculum
Recently I spoke at an association who is at the forefront of creating and sustaining innovative and intellectually challenging organizations.
But before I get into what happened, let me preface this by saying that I’ve traveled the country speaking to over 20,000 people in a two year period. I received evaluations at the end of every day and so I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback over the years about my audience engagement.
I’m not telling you this to impress you but to give you a frame of reference about what I am going to share. Advanced as we are technologically we are still inclined to approach the problematic areas in our places of work today from a place of waiting on someone else to fix it. The #1 issue being the social-emotional problems that need to be, must be, solved beginning with the adults in charge – that is if you want to see productivity go up.
Back to my experience with an organization whose mission statement is to be the forefront of innovative change.
I opened with one of my most engaging activities to get audience involvement right away. It is something I do deliberately to get a feel for what they already know so I don’t take them down a road they’ve already traveled.
As an professional development trainer, I always have a Plan A, B, C etc. depending on what an audience reveals about themselves within the first 10 minutes of our time together.
This activity is designed to get people to think beyond their current situations into the future they’d like to find long term solutions for. In fact Step 2 of this process is to identify “How they’s prefer that it be” within each of the problematic areas they’ve already identified in Step 1.
When we got to this question, “How would you prefer that it be?” it was like looking at deer in the headlight. No one raised their hand with a preference. I encouraged them to reach for it in their minds. I instructed them to think beyond what they thought was possible or realistic and get to the heart of what they’d really like to see happen in education.
Tick-tock-tick-tock. Nothing. I waited much longer than I normally would need to with a business or entrepreneurial group. Finally a young woman with really bright eyes raised her hand and said how she’d prefer that it be in one of the identified problem areas. Excellent! We wrote it up on the board.
Next, a more mature woman who was an Administrator, offered her preference. Excellent. It went up on the board. Silence. I leaned in and waited for it. Then a middle aged man offered his. Again, an excellent preference which I was able to segue into the next Step with.
My point in sharing this with you today is to address a limiting paradigm in our places of work that is pervasive – even with 75 of the most innovative minds in the United States attending my session – and that is our willingness to wait on someone else to tell us what we should be doing and how.
The big problem with this paradigm is that rarely does it spark real, life changing action. People walk out the door and do things exactly the way they have been because they were not part of the collective solution gathering, goal setting, step building experience.
It is because of this old paradigm that I designed a series of UTrain Programs. They are DIY: DO IT YOURSELF programs that can help any one who really wants to be making a difference. Any one who is done waiting on someone else to fix things that is.
I designed it with YOU in mind. The one I’m featuring today is easy to follow and implement. It has a straightforward step-by-step “flexible” curriculum that will help YOU uplift, engage and unify the group you want to see doing much better than they currently are.
YOU CAN DO THIS! I’ve done all the heavy lifting and now all that is needed is people who care enough to just do it.
If you are like me, then you get really antsy waiting on others to step up do something that will make things better.
Now, YOU don’t have to wait on the powers that be to help people feel better so they can do better. YOU don’t have to sit by and let things escalate any more than they already are. Dig into your own entrepreneurial spirit and DO IT YOURSELF.
Because it’s that time of year when leaders are thinking about their THEME for the fall and winter seasons just ahead, today I’d like to do something I haven’t done before and that is lay out what a 12 month Make A Difference YEAR can look like:
August: Kick off In-Service with your top tier leaders setting the theme of Making A Difference with the Power of Acknowledgment Movie and “I Make A Difference” Ceremony. Your leaders then take the session you just did with them out to their people and they take this session out to their people, etc…
September: Make A Difference with the Power of Connecting Styles.
October: Make A Difference with the Power of Owning Your Greatness.
November: Make A Difference with the Power of Compassion with the Teddy Stallard Story: both in English and in Española.
December: Make A Difference with the Power of Positive Self-Talk.
January: Make A Difference with the Power of the Simple Gesture.
February: Make A Difference with the Power of the Made Up Mind.
March: Make A Difference with the Power of Your Dreams in Action.
April: Make A Difference with the Power of Making Your Own Luck.
May: Make A Difference with the Power of Goal Setting.
June: Make A Difference with the Power of Peace Today.
July: Make A Difference with the Power of Giving Back.
=> Each Session has it’s own movie, discussion and building community (team) activities all laid out for you step by step.
=> You don’t even have to prepare ahead of time (I would but that’s just me).
=> You open up the designated Session and play the movie and follow directions.
=> When time has run out, you wrap it up and save back whatever you haven’t used for another In-service when you need it.
No Program Police!
Now, let’s say for example you want to Kick-Off your Make A Difference Year with the Teddy Stallard Story Movie instead of the Acknowledgment Movie.
Then you get to decide! Move it up into your first Session and go ahead and launch.
Then you can move the Acknowledgment Movie back to September which will coincide with National Suicide Prevention Month. This movie is a true story about how a very simple and heartfelt Acknowledgment Ceremony caused the actions of one teacher to dramatically altered the life a business man and his 14-year old son.
YES! You Can Do This …
Click here to see how you can make it happen.
The other day, I headed out early morning to Walmart to pick up a prescription. While waiting for my order to be filled, I went back to the restroom area where I heard a lot of cheering going on. It sounded like a pep rally, and everyone was pumped and ready to get to work.
A few minutes later, I ran into the leader of the group in the restroom, and as we were both heading out the door, I decided to reach out and acknowledge her.
I introduced myself as an author and inspirational speaker and trainer, and that I was curious to know how often they do this kind of “firing up” the employees on their way out to the sales floor.
She explained that they do it three times a day, every day, with each new shift coming on. We chatted for a few minutes about just how important it was to keep people motivated each and every day.
As we talked, I was aware that she was a little dumbfounded that I was even reaching out to have a conversation with her.
As I praised and acknowledged her for what I had just observed her doing, she looked like a deer-in-the-headlights: not quite able to grasp my acknowledgment of her and the fine job she was doing.
As I expressed my observation that she appeared totally invested as a leader, I had another realization. While giving so much to others is a great reward in and of itself, it was possible that she was reaching for a way to receive and accept my compliments and praise.
Suddenly I remembered that I had several “I Make A Difference” wristbands on my wrist, so I pulled one off and asked her to accept my Acknowledgment of her and her outstanding leadership.
Looking into her eyes I said, “You Make A Difference, and I want to acknowledge what an inspirational difference you are making each and every day!”
Again, she looked at me with a stunned look on her face as if she was not used to being on the receiving end of things.
She accepted my gift and put it on her wrist. I then pulled out 3 more wristbands from my purse and handed them to her and said, “And now, I’d like you to accept these to acknowledge others who are making a difference in yourlife…”
I’ve also learned to grab the moment and share with her that, if she wanted to make acknowledging others a regular thing, she could order her own wristbands from the website address imprinted on the inside of the wristband. She looked inside, saw it and nodded to me. And with that, we parted company.
I looked back over my shoulder and I received an unexpected gift back as I saw her looking down at her wristband gently rubbing her fingers over the words on the wristband – “I Make A Difference” – as she walked away.
Lesson: We often take leaders for granted. Who do you know that you could acknowledge today?
It’s the ordinary acts of giving that create extraordinary experiences in life.
– Mary Robinson Reynolds, Creator of the UTrain Make A Difference with the Power of Acknowledgment Program and Leader’s Guide.
Leaning Into Challenging Times
Mary Robinson Reynolds’ ‘I Make A Difference’ Wristbands and Stickers were a very powerful and meaningful way for us to express our gratitude for their contributions. The process had amazing results in people’s attitudes.”
– Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder & Chairman of BNI, Business Networking International, as well as a New York Times best-selling author.
“I got the stickers – the Acknowledgment Movie and the stickers were a HUGE hit today! Yeah! Thanks.”
– Suzanne Steele, Balanced Wellness, LLC
“I learned something the other day …. the word ‘listen’ when you change the letters spells ‘silent’. Thank you.”
– Terri Stanganelli
“Thank you for doing what you are doing. You do make a difference. A box of Kleenex isn’t enough. Your movies are so moving, they touched my heart and opened my eyes. In a world of ‘what more can I get’ I see the greater value in ‘what can I give’ . I have two young girls who will each receive a letter of acknowledgement and appreciation when they get home from school today. Thank you for inspiring me to inspire them.”
– Barb Moxsom Cartoonist/Playwright/Author
“Thank you for this encouragement. Yesterday was a very hard day filled with hopelessness. I am holding on and have to have internal fight to get through all of what I am facing. Your movie gave me hope, something to hang onto. I will be watching this through the day when the hopelessness returns. Thank you Mary, you made a difference today in my life.”
– Catherine Renee, Owner, Custom Hair By Catherine
Is today the day that you just own it and get out there and just do it?
Master’s in Educational Psychology Counseling and Development K-12 from the University of Nebraska; demonstrated expertise with every imaginable label awarded childhood behaviors, physical attributes and learning styles. She parlayed her phenomenal success with at-risk youth into Continuing Education Courses for Portland State University on how to be energetically effective educators. For the past two decades, she has taken her exceptional programs to educational professionals, business leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate managers and administrative assistants conducting training and consulting on how to be effective in creating improvement in their organizations through the power of Team Synergy.
PPS … Let’s not forget that if you have been feeling like there’s something more that you want to do, you can take this program beyond where you currently work by becoming a Certified Make A Difference Facilitator. For those who feel the pull to make a difference and a living at this, I will give you 1:1 time every step a long the way.
Heart Productions & Publishing, Greater Boston Area