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Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!

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Ripples #1,003: Crazy Powerful!
Aug 13, 2018

PEBBLE
There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in proportion.
-Sir Francis Bacon,
shared by Natalie in Clear Lake, WI

BOULDER
Don’t let what is crazy to them, stop you from creating what is powerful to you.
-Akeem Lloyd
written and shared by Akeem in Providence, RI

PONDER

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook my reaction to a heartbreaking poem that popped up in my newsfeed from someone who was struggling mightily. I’d like to share a condensed version of my post for you to ponder:

A long time ago I encountered a boy whose sensitive, not-quite-like-anyone-else spirit was nearly crushed in a world that doesn’t value difference. He struggled mightily, but luckily for him (and luckily for the world), he managed to stay alive long enough for his brain and his body to grow into an adulthood that allowed him to heal from some hurts, to make friends with his shadows, and to recognize the differences which made him weird evolved into the distinctions that make him special.

He still remembers what it is like to feel impossibly broken, and he remains grateful that he held on long enough to discover just how incredible it feels to find out that you can make a LIVING and make a LIFE while being weird. Because what makes him weird is precisely what makes him special.

He still encounters hard times, of course. But he also experiences blissful transcendence, like the times he scrolls his social media feed looking for weary travelers who need to be reminded: everything that helped you make it to today can help you make it a brighter tomorrow. Hang in there. Rest when necessary, and know that the world needs your kind of crazy. I know this for certain, because you’re still here.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #1,000: A Thousand Ripples!

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Ripples #1,000: A Thousand Ripples!
July 16, 2018

PEBBLE
Maybe our favorite quotes say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.
-John Green, shared by Lorene in North Royalton, Ohio

BOULDER
Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.
-Albus Dumbledore (JK Rowling), shared by Rachel in Stevensville, MI

PONDER
On January 15, 1999, I sent an email to 75 people who had agreed to help me experiment with a brief weekly email containing a couple of quotes and something to ponder. We decided to call it “Ripples” to remind us all of the ongoing impact that even our smallest actions have. Here we are, 1,000 Mondays later! This 1,000th issue of Ripples is being sent out to 31,511 subscribers, with a few thousand more reading it online.

From the very first issue, the inspirational quotes included in each issue have been submitted by all of you. And while I’m honored to curate each issue and craft this “ponder” section, I’ve always thought of Ripples as ours. I’ve always appreciated the steady stream of kind messages that remind me that so many of you enjoy receiving Ripples as much as I’ve enjoyed assembling them.

I would like to celebrate this milestone by unleashing 1,000 ripples of compassion and kindness this week, and we’ve created a couple of fun treats to share with everyone who participates. Are you in? Please watch this 90-second video to learn more.

Whether you’ve just joined us, or been part of Team Ripples for years, I want you to know I’m really proud to have reached this milestone, and incredibly honored that so many readers are with us to celebrate. Thank you for extending the reach of these tiny splashes of inspiration!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. In addition to the 1,000 acts of kindness, we’re also hoping to gather 1,000 Smiles. We’ve assembled them in a single photo album in our Team Ripples Facebook Group. Please join us there, and add your smiling self holding a sign of encouragement or gratitude.… Read More!

Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!

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Ripples #999: Loving, Lifting!
July 16, 2018

PEBBLE
We are placed where we are so we can love and lift others.
-Carol McConkie,
shared by Sara in Portsmouth, NH, via Project Happiness:

BOULDER
Being Human is the hardest thing we do AS humans. Our knowledge and the awareness of the universe limited as it is by our senses, we struggle from the moment of our first breath to make connections with others to add depth, context, meaning, and passion to our mortality. Our most sacred obligation is to daily touch the lives of others in ways that give them hope and purpose for living.
Robert Ruder, shared by em on Whidbey Island, WA

PONDER

I’ve had a busy few weeks, firing up incoming students at the University of New England as well as spending time with several pools of my Procter & Gamble peeps in Boston, Dayton, and right here in Cincinnati. At each event I marveled at the vast diversity gathered in the room: who was present, the paths they took to arrive at that particular point in time, and the myriad future directions they aspired to travel next.

During these talks we explored strategies for deepening our capacity to connect with others, something that is essential to personal and professional success. And while it is true that developing exceptional communication and relationship management skills requires considerable effort, it is also true that every single encounter we have with another human being is a chance to further refine these skills.

This week, choose to view every encounter as an opportunity to reveal your humanity and to honor theirs. Friend, foe, or stranger, make an extra effort to extend patience, compassion, and/or assistance as often as possible. You’ll likely make someone’s day, and you’ll definitely improve yours.

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #998: Becoming You!

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Ripples #998: Becoming You!
July 9, 2018

PEBBLE
Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
-Steven Pressfield, shared by Josh Spector in his newsletter, For The Interested

BOULDER
There is no such thing as a perfect version of you. Every day you’ll make choices that change who you’re going to be. Who you’re becoming is not finished. Which means you can be different, no matter who you’ve been up till now.
-Brian Andreas
shared by our friend D, who savors the slopes and the sea

PONDER

So, how are you?
And while I’m at it: Who are you?

We often answer the first question with, “fine” even when we aren’t, and usually respond to the second with our name and maybe our occupation.

I’ve been lately pondering the longer, deeper answers to both of these questions, and encouraging workshop participants and keynote audiences to do the same. In many presentations, I invite people to form small groups and introduce themselves to each other in ways other than describing their work/education background. As I walk around the room, I hear some people talking about their families (the ones they were born into or the ones they’ve grown into), while others disclose places they’ve lived or visited. Other possible topics include hobbies, community engagement, or even favorite movies, books or songs.

I also provide questions that make it easier to move beyond simple, trite answers about how work/life is going. Even posing this simple pair of questions can evoke (or elicit) longer, more meaningful conversations: What’s working for you right now? What isn’t?

Pondering, sharing, and discussing these questions can help us better understand who we are and who we are becoming. Of course our answers will continue to evolve–one of the exciting aspects of personal and professional growth is that today’s answers have the power to reshape the responses you’ll have tomorrow.

Join us in the pondering, sharing, discussing and becoming!

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. You have just a few more days to help us prepare for Ripples #1,000 by snapping a selfie of your smiling self holding a sign of encouragement and emailing it to Smiles@2rpl.me. Early submitters can get a set of goodies to help them unleash ripples of kindness during the week of July 23rd. Peek at other submissions if you need inspiration.  Are you in? Please, PLEASE be in! We have about 100 right now, and I’m really hoping for 1,000!… Read More!

Ripples #997: Lifeguarding

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Ripples #997: Lifeguarding
July 2, 2018

PEBBLE
If you’re not drowning, you’re a lifeguard.
-Seth Godin
shared by DB in SD

BOULDER
The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about them.
-Albert Einstien
shared by Tyler in Nekoosa, WI

PONDER

There are a whole lot of things that aren’t right with the world right now. And there’s no shortage of people who *could* be pitching in to help.

Anyone can sit around and complain about what is wrong and what someone *else* needs to do differently in order to improve things. And I’m guessing that we’re all guilty of doing that sometimes. It’s a harder thing to stop singing in the chorus and stand up to be part of the solution.

None of us can do everything that needs to be done.
All of us can do something that needs to be done.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. Last week we invited people to snap a selfie of their smiling face holding a sign of encouragement. Our goal is to collect 1,000 smiles in time for our 1,000th Ripple which is coming up soon! Everyone who emails a photo to Smiles@2Rpl.me in the next few days can receive some bonus goodies to help us unleash 1,000 ripples of compassion and kindness during the week of July 23.… Read More!

Ripples #996: Sharing Smiles!

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Ripples #996: Sharing Smiles!
June 25, 2018

PEBBLE
Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
-Mother Theresa,
shared by Holly in Phoenix, AZ

BOULDER
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald,
shared by Pete in the mountains of Colorado

PONDER

Would you share a smile, pretty please?

Some of you may remember that back during the 2008-2009 economic downturn, we collected and shared smiles….images of smiling people holding up signs of encouragement to help us all endure the challenges we were facing (you can see some of the images below).

Posted by Paul Wesselmann on Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In four weeks, we will unleash the 1,000th issue of Ripples, and to celebrate this milestone we’ve set an ambitious goal of sharing 1,000 smiles and unleashing 1,000 ripples of compassion + kindness (more on the second part next week).

So, dear Rippler, could you make time this week to whip up a message of encouragement or gratitude and snap a selfie of your smiling facing along with the sign? This could be intended for a specific person or group, but it could also be a general message for anyone. It could even be as simple as our #urock hashtag which stands for “unleash ripples of compassion + kindness.” If you’re feeling really ambitious, maybe recruit some of your friends or coworkers to participate….it might make a fun team development or group bonding activity.

For those who email their photo to me at Smiles@2Rpl.me in the next week or so, I can send you some inspirational postcards we made up to help unleash kindness the week of July 23rd. Are you in? I’ve got a smile on my face as I wait with eager anticipation to see if you are.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy

P.S. I’m still in a bit of shock that it has been almost 1,000 weeks since we sent our first issue of Ripples. I guess time flies when you’re smiling and rippling!… Read More!

Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.

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Ripples #995: Befriending Uncertainty.
June 18, 2018

PEBBLE
Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
R. I. Fitzhenry, shared by Troy in St. Paul, MN

BOULDER
Leave everything undefined, including yourself. Befriend uncertainty. Fall in love with mystery. Kneel at the altar of Not Knowing. Give your questions time to breathe. And the answers will find you.
-Jeff Foster, shared by Leslie in Madison, WI

PONDER
There is something so comforting about certainty: knowing all the things we need to know, feeling confident that our opinions are the right ones, and consistently taking clear, decisive action with calm assurance that we chose the Right Way.

The problem, of course, is that there are plenty of situations where you don’t have access to *all* of the information. And there are plenty times when reasonable people have different opinions based on different perspectives. And all too often we aren’t 100% sure which path is the Right Way to go.

If you can muster a bit of faith and perhaps a dollop of openness, it is possible to accept uncertainty, and even embrace it as a sacred opportunity to cultivate the gifts of patience and flexibility.

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. TRUE STORY… Because I wasn’t satisfied it was making a ripple-worthy point in a clear and concise way, I shared this draft of Ripples with my boyfriend who has done more than his share of editing of other people’s writing over the past two decades. Jamie thought it was easy to understand and made a useful point. “Are you sure?” I asked, because I just wasn’t. He looked at me and smiled: “Maybe you need to befriend your uncertainty?” Boom. No more edits, other than adding this postscript.… Read More!

Ripples #994: Sharing Pain

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Ripples #994: Sharing Pain.
June 11, 2018

PEBBLE
When you are in the midst of a fog and can’t see the shoreline, you need a compass because we are not hard-wired to go it alone. We need others to survive and thrive.
-Edward T. Creagan (adapted), shared by Donna, in Owings, MD

BOULDER
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
-Henri Nouwen, via Values.com

PONDER
This week I enjoyed a quick trip to Wisconsin to fire up a group of nonprofit leaders at a remarkable event called Enterprising Nonprofits that was sponsored and coordinated by my pals at First Business Bank. The timing of their event created an opportunity to zip over and say a quick hello to my pals at Wisconsin Leadership Seminars before rushing back to the airport for the trip home.

In the midst of my travels, I learned on the news about two celebrities who died by suicide. I’ve learned from several knowledgeable sources that it is wiser to avoid glamorizing suicide by focusing on details. Still, I wanted to recognize the pain people I care about might be experiencing and also acknowledge the darkness that has occasionally been a part of my life.

I wrote a longer Facebook post that you are welcome to read even if you’re not active on social media. Besides that note, I’ll share here that when I was younger and my own strength and courage was not sufficient, the support of trained professionals and a few key family members and friends helped me make it to today. And make no mistake: it was SHOWING UP that mattered far more than what they SAID. Showing up, staying present, and listening to my story. They held me, they heard me, and they believed me. The hardy members of Team Paulie demonstrated that hope exists and is worth clinging to even (especially) in the darkest of times.

Over the weekend I came across a collection of “16 Tweets to Read if you’re Struggling”:

16 Tweets You Might Need to See If You’re Struggling With Suicidal Thoughts Today

This one stood out: “Once in the midst of a major depression, I was crying (I thought softly) to myself on the F train; it was crowded. Someone, as they got off, stuck a pack of tissues under my nose. That person kept me going another day.”

It reminded me that sharing pain does not extend it; instead, it helps to define and diminish the hurt. Sharing pain promotes healing, and reminds us of our common humanity. If you’re in pain right now, I hope you can summon just enough courage to tell someone about it (you can even reply to this email and tell me). If you’re not in pain, we’re counting on you to … Read More!

Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!

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Ripples #993: The Blechy Stuff!
June 4, 2018

PEBBLE
Stress is one of the greatest gifts we have. It’s a motivator, a source of strength and a survival instinct that pushes us beyond what we often perceive as the limit of our capabilities.
-Jared Lindzon, shared by Missy Goodell, Olympia WA

BOULDER
Making plans for your life doesn’t get you out of the stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it. (The stuff that comes along whenever it feels like it may actually be what gets you to your life faster.)
-Brian Andreas, Bring Your Life Back to Life: A Guide to Effortless Joy
shared by DCB, living between Eden & Paradise

PONDER

There is no doubt that life can be more challenging and less predictable than we wish it was. And sometimes just when we think things cannot get any worse, Life steps up and says, “Wanna bet?”

If Life has recently poured it on a little too thick and a little too much, gently remind yourself that your track record of getting through difficulty is actually quite high. Always remember and never forget: if you’re breathing, you’re still alive…you made it to today!

Mini-breaks are necessary so often as possible pause to take a few deep breaths (try one right now). Build in brief pit stops as necessary, and then hop up so you can keep trudging onward. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’re much farther along than you thought you were. Remember that even when you don’t have a choice about when and how and whether the blechy stuff shows up, you almost always have options about how to respond: to GO through it, or to GROW through it.

It’s okay to sometimes settle for just getting to the other side. Other times, I hope you’ll choose to grow. #GrowForIt

Peace,

Paul
The Ripples Guy… Read More!

Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!

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Ripples #992: Be Where You Are!
May 28, 2018

PEBBLE
If you’re going to be in the gym: BE IN THE GYM!
-RAS
shared by Belinda in Berkeley, CA, who saw this at the US Olympic Training Center

ANOTHER PEBBLE
Can we get to the place where there is no place to get to?
-Michael Stone
shared by PT in Miami Beach, FL

PONDER
I’m on holiday, and would like to keep this brief. If it’s okay with you, I’ll be where I am, and you be where you are. Let’s be okay with that for today. Tomorrow we can wake up and get back to the task of moving and going and growing.

Can you get there?

Peace,
Paul
The Ripples Guy
P.S. For those of us here in the U.S., our Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer. It’s grounded in an observance of those who died in service to their country; please consider taking some time to acknowledge their sacrifice.… Read More!