Monday, October 26, 2015

Accept People, Period: A Rant About the Semantics Of Acceptance

A few weeks back, I had a post about acceptance that garnered lots of views and reactions. It prompted me to quickly crank out this rant about acceptance.

I was challenged, privately, of course, as to what exactly did I "mean" by acceptance?

If you mean, I've got to deny my beliefs to save your feelings, then I don't accept some people.

I have my values and they inform what I accept or don't accept

and my personal favorite...

I can love someone without accepting their actions or behaviors.

Wow. Just wow.

Let's start with a dictionary definition of acceptance and there are three:

  1. the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.

  2. the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.

  3.      agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation

Which do you think applies to people the most? Within the context of relationships and doing life with others, which definition makes the most sense?

If you did not choose definition number 2,  then that's where we part. When I blogged about acceptance from people who I potentially want to do life with or family a few weeks back, I was specifically applying definition number two as in "received as adequate or suitable."

We are not required to agree or believe in everything around us. We are not required to consent to receive something offered to us. But we are damn sure obligated to receive people in our lives as they are - adequate and suitable - ENOUGH by simply being alive and willing to relate to us.

We have to stop this trend of taking words out of context to fit our agendas. Sure, there are several definitions of acceptance but only one applies as it relates to relationships with people. And of course, this all goes out the window where there is abuse of any kind present within a relationship.

My rant is clear. I am raging over the way we accept some stories in our lives and reject others. Whether it's gender, race, political or religious views, we have to do better.

People are enough as they are.

Stop making people feel as though they have to "do something" to be in our lives.

Quit trying to alter someone else's narrative to fit yours. 

Start by accepting yourself.

Look in the mirror and fully accept what you see and if you don't like it, then do something to change. But don't go projecting your own acceptance issues on those around you.

I fully embrace acceptance at its core meaning for those in my life and people I meet every day. We need all stories told to better our world. Who am I to reject or diminish another human being's experience and existence? Who are you?

Please take time this week to notice when you are rejecting or diminishing someone else and stop it. Everyone deserves acceptance in society and it starts one-to-one in our relationships.

Start today.

Monday, October 12, 2015

If Life Imitates Art, Let's Up The Art Game

It is said that life imitates art. And we certainly know that art often times is a direct reflection of life.

If that is the case, then we are in big trouble in America. We are in grave danger of perpetuating cheap stereotypes, tired and outdated narratives and the "progress" we say we want, keeps slipping further and further into the future.

How many of you have seen or heard about the film Spare Parts, released in January of this year in a joint venture between Lionsgate films and Mexican media giant Televisa? Too few to count, I'm sure and that is the reason for this rant of a post.

Let's suppose that life actually imitates art and up the game on the art we consume.  Yep. I said it.

After watching the incredible based on a true story motion picture about 4 undocumented Mexican high schoolers who defied all odds and resource constraints to beat an MIT team (and other well funded university program teams) at a UCSB  Underwater Robotics competition, I am convinced that we need more.

More tales of defying odds and making a way out of no way.

More stories about the actual lives of undocumented people living in the shadows among us.

More narratives of what matters most, teamwork, collaboration and tapping into everyone's talent.

More accounts of humans striving to belong and contribute in marvelous ways.

One reason the bigoted and ignorant rhetoric we see soaring to the tops of the current GOP presidential race is because of a lack of widespread exposure to precisely these types of stories. We can't get every person in every corner of this nation to have actual relationships and/or  interactions with people who different from them. That would be ideal.

Actual exposure to people, ideas, places that are very different than ourselves, our neighborhoods and our own ideas is costly and impractical. But to make better use of the channels we have would be marvelous. Wouldn't it be great if Hollywood started making movies that disrupt rather than perpetuate stereotypes and outdated narratives? What about TV shows - comedic and drama - that better reflect the actual lives of the many extraordinary people across our great land?

Go out and make Spare Parts the "Pitch Perfect" of 2015.  Rent it. Buy it. Pass it around. Spread the word like we all did for the 2012 comedy that, like Spare Parts,  was released on a very limited low budget and sent to DVD within 120 days of its release. The momentum and word of mouth for Pitch Perfect hit its peak in the fall of 2013 when its DVD sales and popularity was at an all time high due to the rapid fire social media wave of interests.  We spread the word on Pitch Perfect because it moved us. It was clever. It was a funny story about a a group of misfits who banded together to make valuable contributions toward a greater goal. It was about healthy competition and the role it plays in growing us. It was about the power of teamwork and honoring everyone's contribution and talent.

Spare Parts is that kind of story - a story worth sharing. When Hollywood sees interest, it responds and gives us more. We need more movies like Spare Parts. Join me in sharing this great tale and demanding that entertainment companies like Lionsgate and Televisa give us more.

Get Spare Parts today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2 Ways To End 2015 Well These Last 12 Weeks

If you're like me, you may be wondering where 2015 went.

Woke up from my haze that was September just this past weekend and realized we are 12 short weeks away from ringing in 2016. 12 weeks. As 2015 is slipping away, I pose the question for you and me...

Did I get what I wanted from 2015?

I don't start the year with any grand resolutions or makeovers. Normally, I set a few objectives and a couple of big audacious goals and 2015 was no different. There were several big business goals and a few important personal ones. With 12 short weeks left to achieve them, here are my two practical ways to make sure 2015 ends the way I'd like it to.


This past year has flown by and while I set out with some big business and personal goals, I've had to regroup on those especially lately. Take a step back and look at what has actually happened versus what I wanted to happen. What's the delta? How far off am I? In many cases, I am not too far off the mark but need to rejigger my compass. In other cases, I am in better shape than I thought I'd be at this point. There is no shame in tossing things out that don't make sense. With a full quarter left in this year, there is plenty of time to redirect energy into activities and relationships that will get us closer to our goals for 2015. Further, this may be the time to start tinkering with what we'd like to see happen in 2016. Get a jump on the planning and rework some 2015 goals and objectives into better 2016 ones. Regrouping is key to continued success. Do it as much as necessary.


I cannot help but chuckle out loud at this one. I love celebrating and don't do it nearly enough. Typically, we Americans are at one extreme or the other - you know, we celebrate too much or hardly at all. I am definitely on the hardly at all, especially during rough seasons of life like the one I'm currently in and have been in for over a year. Hence my new thought of taking time to celebrate even tiny wins and hints of new momentum. For most of the last 15 months, I have hesitated to celebrate anything "waiting" for my tough fog to lift, waiting for the "big relief." Well the reality is, it has not come. I don't know if it is even on the way anymore. So I've missed a TON of opportunities to celebrate the wins I've had in 2015. But no more. Last weekend, we had a celebratory dinner for surviving my crazy September. I have a celebration plan to finish this year and of course my birthday month will serve as a great catalyst this new direction. Part of what builds momentum is reinforcement of behaviors that got us the progress. Celebrating is a great way to encourage progress. Make sure you stop and celebrate your wins these last 12 weeks of 2015.

So the answer to my own question is... not yet. And I have 12 weeks to make sure that "not yet" converts to a yes. Then I can got into 2016 unencumbered with any remnants of "what ifs" from 2015. Join me.