What Are Your Foundational Pillars?

By October 27, 2016Musings

foundational-pillarsI’ve been thinking a lot lately about my foundational pillars: the strong supporting deep foundations and footings upon which I live my life and grow my business.

My strongest foundational pillar is my Mission: a simple 3 words…To Spread Joy. That might sound a little airy-fairy or “out there”, but I assure you, it is not. When I wake up each day, I know that the reason I’m here is to touch as many people with words, actions and intention that will (hopefully) lift their day and their spirits…to, almost by osmosis, help them feel that little bit better…more empowered, less stressed, more optimistic with not only a “can do” attitude, but a “will do” commitment to action.

Yesterday, as I was standing in line at a grocery store, I watched an over-worked, harried clerk attend to multiple demands. Two people needed problems resolved. There were long line-ups at each cash, including the one I was standing in. I watched people be people.

Some started fidgeting, demonstrating through their body language their disgruntlement and impatience.

Some started complaining out loud to an unknown, unseen entity, as if their negative words would somehow change the situation.

In my line, we stood in line for 15 minutes. I decided to chat up the two people in front of me. We talked about how one person’s ice cream was melting, how another was happy they’d bought their Starbucks coffee prior. We bantered for a bit, while behind me a dad told his young son to remain in line as he went out to the car.

The son was not pleased. He pleaded for his dad to stay with him. To which his dad said: “You’re a big boy. You can do it.”

As the minutes ticked on, the young lad behind me patiently waited, one small bunch of bananas in hand, eyes as big as saucers.

Eventually, the dad came back, wondering why the long delay.

By this point, another line was moving quicker, and I laughed and said: “Go over there. You’ll get through faster. And don’t worry: I’ll hold your place in line in case we get moving here.”

Well you know what happened, of course. My line finally started moving, and I said to the boy and his dad: “Come back, come back!” When they scurried back, I said: “Go ahead of me. Your son’s been so patient and mannerly.”

When the dad asked “really?’ I simply said, “of course…consider it my pay-it-forward for the day.”

Well, they both broke out in smiles. The son puffed up like a proud peacock. The entire mood of the line lightened up. People shifted from agitation to relaxation. The cashier moved from harried to efficient. We all felt good, even though the wait had been long and, to many, annoying.

This is a simple story. It didn’t change the world. But it changed the moment.

And I believe it’s the foundational pillars upon which we live our lives that are the moment changers, which in turn, can change the world in which we operate. Like a pebble dropped into a pond, our actions have a ripple effect. We can choose action that has a negative effect, and perpetuate what might already be an unpleasant situation. Or…we can choose action that impacts others in a positive way.

ripple-effectMy foundational pillars include:

  • Seeing each moment as an opportunity to impact my own life, and the lives of those around me, in an uplifting way, whether through a simple smile, an act of kindness, a piece of valuable information or a helping hand
  • Supporting others to be the best they can be, to recognize or acknowledge their words or works and to “be there” for them, even when not asked to do so, with no expectation of return
  • Loving myself, my family, my friends and my life
  • Accepting myself as I am, accepting others as they are, not judging the person, and separating the person from the behaviour
  • Knowing that I will falter, fail, make mistakes (but I’ll only make a particular mistake once:), screw up, trip and fall, but never stay down
  • Realizing that every day is a gift waiting to be unwrapped. Some days the box will feel empty: some days it will overflow with abundance. It is up to me to see in that gift opportunity, possibility and potential.

What are your Foundational Pillars?

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  • Wonderful story Kaarina, and it reminded me of a similar experience. I always let people with just a few things go ahead of me in line at the grocery store so don’t think much about it. But this one lady looked absolutely stunned when I encouraged her to move ahead. She said ‘You know, I let people go ahead of me all the time, but this is the very first time someone has done it for me!’ You never know when the simplest gesture will touch someone’s heart. Thanks for the inspiration, great way to start the day. 🙂

    • A little kindness goes a long way, right? So nice to see you here. Hope all is well!

  • Alina Kelly

    I have to disagree with you Kaarina. I believe your actions changed the moment and, in so doing, changed the world for everyone around you. Our worlds are made up of moments. Borrowing from the proverb “Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, changing the world begins by changing a moment. If we all used every opportunity to make every moment the best it can be, we will have changed the world. Your story sends the world in the right direction. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your lovely comment @alinakelly:disqus. I couldn’t agree more with you about being in the moment which, by our choice, can be positive or negative. Choice not chance determines our destiny. So nice to see you here, and thanks!

  • I love this so much. No… I love YOU so much. This is why all my IH’s turn into IL’s the minute you’re around 🙂

    I agree, you changed the moment AND the world because the world isn’t made up of one “big picture”, its made up of infinitesimal frames like the one you described.

    I wish more and more people would pay a kindness instead of a grumble. (guilty as charged, too many times, but always trying to be better!)

    It doesn’t take much to make things better instead of worse. And I know for a fact that the world is better because you exist!

    • Wow…I’m humbled and honoured and oh-so-thankful. What a lovely thing to say! And we’ll keep on the IH to IL path as much as possible, my friend 🙂 Looking forward to our next Skype together!