Renewed by the end of Summer and the case for Corporate Social Responsability

Refresh Yourself

Summer has come to an end and I feel renewed. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a long summer and things haven’t slowed down because it is Fall. In the last few months I have had many meetings, long business trips, late working days, and further discussions about the things that consume much of my attention. Between home and work, life has just been simply busy. Still, as I think of this Summer, I feel renewed; overflowing with memories that build momentum for me to remain committed and engaged with all that is going on in my life.

Some of the memories that fill my mind and generate this positive energy?
Taking mornings out of my work schedule to start the day sharing a cup of coffee with my wife…
Reading more books that feed both the heart and the brain (finishing John Piper’s The Pleasures of God and enjoying Joseph McCormack’s Brief)…
Spending more time with my children just talking and getting to know who they are deep inside…
Reconnecting with friends and family, and inviting new people into my life…
Opening our home to our community and serving people for who they are…
Helping a friend move into his new home…
Recommitting to speaking Portuguese more often with my family (this is a big one)…
Going on a road trip…
Attending a soccer game (Liverpool 2-0 AC Milan)…
Taking long walks on the beach…
Waking up to the see the sun-rise and taking the time to watch it go down…
Taking a day off work to do nothing but play hard with my family (Defygravity is awesome)…
Running 4 to 5 miles twice a week (just me and the road ahead)…

I could go on. It’s a simple list of memories made up of events both big and small, but each with a meaning that serves to push me forward when the stress of life starts to creep up.

We all go through those moments when life is just too busy and hectic. What do you do to regain your energy levels? I’ve learned that it is the way one responds that ultimately stabilizes our vision. It provides additional angles to our perspective of things.

For me it helps to spend time with my family; It reminds me of why I do what I do. And when I help others, this allows me to understand my situation in a different light. I believe this is why more and more businesses are pushing for their employees to focus on community initiatives. It is more than a PR move. Yes, helping the community you serve with your business is important but it is much more than a “photo pop.”

The case for Corporate Social Responsibility

In a 2004 article published in the Economist we see the arguments for why corporate america should and should not focus on social responsibility. While the message focuses on the impact of company resources on the environment, the same arguments can be made for any opportunity to serve the people that buy the product or use the widget your business provides.  Still, I believe the impact is two-fold (which is what is missing from the article linked above); not only are businesses caring for their communities, but the people that make up the enterprise are growing in the experience of giving of their own resources – time and money.

This practice is not as common in Portugal so I’ve learned much from my experience in the US. I will never forget the year 2005 as one where myself and a group of co-workers volunteered to build a house with Habitat for Humanity. The opportunity to do something so selfless allowed me to understand my position when compared to others. How fortunate I am. How blessed I am. That experience alone was a catalyst for much humility. But it also provided me the desire to be more engaged with the company I worked with, knowing that it supported the communities it served. That was motivation to work even harder.

If you are a business owner, are you providing the opportunities for your workers to serve their community? Are you allowing them to grow in this process of selflessness? The rewards of employee motivation are real in these acts.

Getting you Pumped Up

He believes in you! He is your biggest fan! He cheers you in public when the crowd roars with excitement! He pulls you up when loneliness sets in! No matter what may come your way; no matter how big the challenge; no matter how high the mountain may seem; He is there for you!

Who?

The father in the lounging chair?

The neighbor sitting on the front the porch?

The teacher standing in the hallway?

The student hanging out in the playground?

The co-worker filling out paper forms?

YOU!!! Get up and move! This is your chance to make a difference. To make an impact. To pump someone up and see the effects as it spreads out! 

I was a reminded of this power as I saw a motivational calendar my team and I created for our sales channel. I made the cover page based on some of the expressions that inspire me. And as I look at it again, I feel inspired to be better myself. To get up and move. To lead at home. To lead at work. And to lead in my community. As a husband; as a father; as a son; as a brother; as a co-worker; as a mentor; as a friend.

Pumping you up

Let these words pump you up!

Being a helping hand and being changed by it

Helping Hand

In keeping up with my theme for this year of being more loving and more generous, this past week I was able to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in years. While I won’t disclose what he is going through, I will share that his situation is emotionally and physically tough. Still, I was encouraged to see his attitude and resolve to overcome his current situation and be a better man for the people closest to him. He didn’t shy away from the problem and recognized his influence in the situation but made the decision to adjust his course correctly. I was touched to see his resolve.

My role is to be the friend he needs; a brother in arms. To be present in the good and bad times. I want to be that person. I know I can’t change anything, but I can be a catalyst for his motivation to kick-in when needed. I’m being that helping hand but I know that I too am being changed through the process.

You can say it’s a noble act. You can say it shows honor to your friends. You can even say that I’m being an example to my family and the people around me. All of these expressions are true but I tend to see how this process is also changing me. I don’t see myself as better, stronger, smarter, brighter, or more positive. I’m just another person like so many others faced with the opportunity to be present. I know you have had the same opportunity. The opportunity to be that friend, that brother, that source of encouragement and motivation. In looking back at my life I can say that sometimes I took the easy road. But this time it’s different.

In taking the first step to be that someone I have finally said:
“I’m present and I’m willing to take this responsibility. I will be here for you when you need it. I will check in when you least expect it. I will listen to your cry and I will let you vent. I will provide limited wisdom allowing you to see a different point-of-view. I will laugh with you when it get’s silly and things don’t make sense. I will be your helping hand.”

Realizing what others do for you

Airport

As I stand at the airport writing this post I’m reminded of Memorial Day. Yes, it is the day AFTER Memorial Day but it is still appropriate to remember, salute and celebrate the men and women serving in the armed forces and all that they have done for us. I see people rushing to their gates, families walking together and others just checking today’s news. Life is in full swing. And that is the biggest gift that we have received – normal is back after Memorial Day where we’ve all put our thankful hats away and go back to our previously scheduled life. It’s this way with the majority of us. And it’s evident in many areas of our lives. But what if we could have this attitude flowing naturally in our thoughts, words and actions? Being Thankful.

Thankfulness is such a strong attribute, it should be intertwined in every aspect of our lives. However, to really capture our hearts, it needs to be based on the realization of  what others have indeed done for us. It’s more than words. It’s understanding in your attitude the decisions, sacrifices and directions others have taken to your benefit.

This is what my wife and I have taught our children. Often, the perfect situation plays out like this…

Me: “Son, that was nice that your friend shared his soccer ball with you.”

Son: “I know, I really like his soccer ball.”

Me: “Great, now what do you say?”

Son: “Thank you.”

Me: “What in fact are you thankful for?”

Son: “I’m thankful for his soccer ball.”

Me: “Are you thankful that he shared?”

Son: “Yes.”

Me: “Make sure you tell him.”

Son: “Thank you for sharing your soccer ball.”

Friend: “You are welcome.”

(For readership experience, all crying, yelling and kicking have been omitted from this conversation. My son is not perfect and I do not claim for him to be, but he is learning just like I am.)

My wife and I really try to focus on reminding them not only to show their thankfulness but to acknowledge their reason for and by appreciating someone else’s words or actions towards them. Emphasizing on this type of behavior is so powerful and I have seen my children exemplifying it in the smallest of occasions. Interestingly enough, I’ve also seen the person/parties being recognized continuing to develop other behaviors that are positive and important in their lives. In the case of my son’s friend, he has continuously developed a desire to share his toys.

The same holds true in our work lives. This week I’ll be visiting a sales channel that we partner with in Atlanta. After a slow start to the year our numbers are going up and we’re hitting our monthly goals again. Last month was particularly successful and so part of my trip is to show how much I appreciate their commitment, hard work and focus on meeting our objectives. In my bag I have individual thank you cards, hand written with a particular note specific for each of the individuals. Each note zooms in on their contribution, their actions and the results their were directly involved. My goal is to continue to foster thankfulness in myself and motivate them to grow in their professional life.

This is a never-ending process. As I finish this post I’m reminded of this truth… my flight has been delayed a second time… trying to be thankful for voucher I just received, since what I really want is to get on that flight.

Four blessings

20120507-054358.jpg

It’s been four weeks since the last time I blogged. Much has been on my mind as I experienced life through holidays, special family moments and time with friends. These have definitely been four weeks of much meditation that have reminded me of the importance of recognizing life’s blessings.

These life events, occurrences and simple moments in time, show us the true meaning of a successful life. The things we should be measured by but that we take for granted. A life more often fulfilled in the most simple of actions. I lived through these reminders in the last four weeks. Not just about my blessings but also my real goals in life – to be a man after God’s own heart, a husband, a father, a friend, and a hard worker that shows integrity in each action.

This will be my most personal post to date. However, I believe these reminders to be applicable for anyone. A motivational reminder on how we should at our life. From most recent to my first week, here we go…

You live a good life
I just had a family member visit me from Portugal. Her stories of a frustrating society caught in the middle of an identity crisis hurst most because of the ties I have with this country I call my own. I feel American but there is still much of me that is internally Portuguese. The beautiful beaches, the historical monuments and the always present sense of pride, all fill my memory and reoccurring thoughts from time to time.

Much like many European countries, Portugal is in the middle of an economic crisis that has impacted the majority of its population. If you’ve heard of the issues impacting Greece and Spain, just change the scenery and that is Portugal’s reality. Her stories were a constant reminder of how my reality was better. But that wasn’t the final reminder.

I also got to learn about the life changing stories of the Watoto church in Uganda. A ministry aimed at raising the next generation of African leaders in a nation affected by war, poverty and AIDS. The majority of children at the Watoto church are orphans cared by women who are being given a second chance in life. New families created in an environment of love and hope that are changing their country. Their mission is inspiring and their impact real.

So how does this link to your current situation? Are you frustrated with your job? Do you wish you had bigger home? Maybe you want a better car? How about… (you fill in the blank) You see, chances are if you are reading this blog post you belong to the 1% of the world population that can consider yourself rich and living with more resources than the majority of the world around us. It does change your attitude when you recognize the blessing of a simple resource as having access to the Internet.

For more information on Watoto, please visit their website at http://www.watoto.com

You are alive
This one sounds simple and it is – If you are breathing you are alive! That is also true for anyone currently battling a terminal illness. Like the old adage, “we’re all going to eventually die.” Well then, take advantage of every single moment to live it up. Spend time with family and friends, don’t stress about work, don’t worry about money, etc. It’s actually easier said than done, but still an undeniable truth that only the sense of death can remind us. This truth is more about life than death though. You can ask my friend Ryan Woods.

I met Ryan in 2001 as he served as a missionary to my church in Lisbon, Portugal. My memories of him were always of someone real, someone that truly cared for you no matter what others thought or said. His was a sense of truly loving people. Not for their potential or what they could achieve, but for who they were in the here and now moment.

I saw Ryan again this time last year. He was in North Carolina because of school and we got to chat and reconnect as he shared about his experience starting a new church in downtown Vancouver, Washington. What happened next has been both sad and amazing. Ryan was a month later diagnosed with a cancer on his spinal cord which has since changed his body but has not broken his spirit. This month his doctor told him he has 3-6 months to live.

The most inspiring part of his story is his ability to recognize both sadness and blessings during this time. His love for God and people remains. His acceptance of how his life story is being written is amazing. Ryan and his family have reminded of how indeed life can be frustrating, but the way you choose to live it is much more important. This blog post is a lot about how Ryan has reminded me to live life.

For more information on Ryan’s story, please visit http://www.grassrootsconspiracy.com/blog

Family matters most
Isn’t this the truth! Nothing is more relaxing to me than sharing memories of family events or looking at pictures with my bride and our children. It fills my heart to overflow. These memories were all too real when Courtney and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We spent a full day together while the grandparents took care of the children. We were reminded of our dating days in Portugal and how we’ve been blessed through the years with a beautiful family inside and out.

You see I guess I’m different than most people. Growing up my first real dream was not to actually be a professional sports star or have this amazing job in the corporate world. No. My first real dream was to have a family – a beautiful wife and amazing children by my side. Looking back at the times when I would consciencly think of the dream, it’s amazing to look around and recognize that it is here. But like many of us, we dream other dreams and our attention focuses on other things. Our weeding anniversary was a reminder of what indeed matters most.

This reality is far greater than just marriage. Whether it’s your family or friends who are closest, you know what I’m talking about. I hope you have the opportunity today to live out this truth and spend some quality time with your family and friends. Take the time to enjoy the blessing of connecting with others and do life together.

Recognizing who you are living for
I can’t separate this truth. It is just who I am. The biggest blessing is straight forward – I have a maker who loves me beyond compare and who gave his only son to die for me. This is an intrinsic part of all my posts because it’s an important part of who I am. Nothing makes it more real than Easter.

As a Christ follower I have experienced life in an amazing way. No words can express how much I’m grateful for His Salvation and the fact that he rescued me from a life of mediocrity to a life of fulfillment beyond compare. But I want more, to make a difference with my family, with my friends, at work, in my community. I want others to experience this everlasting truth of a meaningful life in Jesus.

His truth is available to all at http://www.bible.com.

If you live in Raleigh, NC I invite you to visit Hope Community Church. For more information you can visit http://www.gethope.net.

Welcome to 2M8!

Welcome to 2Motive8! A new blog that was fueled by my desire to motivate and encourage others to achieve their full life potential. The creation of 2Motive8 is about doing what I’ve encouraged others to do: take action towards achieving your goals. My goal is that I can use this blog as a platform to showcase this gift to passionately communicate encouragement to others, and start a movement that links encouragement in our families and communities.

Why 2M8?
In my quest for meaning I thought about the true sense of motivation and how it has impacted me. I’ve always recognized potential in family and friends, and my life has provided many opportunities to showcase this amazing gift of encouragement in its simple and most powerful form. You see, true encouragement is fueled by something greater, even more powerful: LOVE. This simple ingredient can be both realistic and insane, but it’s the most pure form of belief that can change the world. Jesus talked about it and most importantly personified it. May we use love as an ingredient to help us connect with ourselves and others.

The number 2 is symbolic to the one who writes and the one who reads it; the one who reads it and the one who shares it; the one who reaches their goals and sees someone who wants to achieve theirs. The number 2 is about the relationship. It’s about sharing the love; sharing the motivation.

The word motive comes from the goals we all want to achieve. The Merrier-Webster dictionary describes motive as

something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.

This is the call to action.

The number 8 is a reference to the number of steps I’ve identified in the need to achieve goals. I thought about these as I’ve related to people and the below have been common steps in my motivational interactions:
1. Be You!
2. Unveil your real potential from within.
3. Connecting with others.
4. Set a vision.
5. Raise awareness.
6. Be disciplined.
7. Have the right attitude.
8. Take action!

Additionally, I will post on 8 categories of motivation:

Motivating Good Thoughts – #MotivatingGoodThoughts
Motivating Meaningful Work – #MotivatingMeaningfulWork
Motivating Strong Communities – #MotivatingStrongCommunities
Motivating Joyful Families – #MotivatingJoyfulFamilies
Motivating Healthy Living – #MotivatingHealthyLiving
Motivating Inspirational Moments – #MotivatingInspirationalMoments
Motivating Soundtrack – #MotivatingSoundtrack
Motivating Leadership – #MotivatingLeadership

May this be inspirational as I share from within… I hope you do the same!