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Many of us have memories of fireworks lighting up the night sky on special evenings. Whether it is an Independence Day spectacular, or a way to ring in the New Year, we are familiar with how fireworks operate.

For most of these mesmerizing explosives, there is a fuse that needs to be lit in order for the chemical reaction to occur. This reaction results in an awe-inspiring sight that causes many to stop, look and relish in the beauty.

But when a firework is labeled a “dud” it is placed in a bucket of water and never given the opportunity to reach its full potential. It is never allowed to shine in any shape or form.

People are the same way.

When given the right setting and encouragement, the potential is limitless. By supporting others, we are in turn saying that it is okay, even encouraged, for them to shine. The difference between a super star and a “has been”, could really be a byproduct of their environment and not the individual.

Stick with me for a moment. I’ve seen this one first-hand.

I was once in a situation when I did not feel supported. We have all been there. Our ideas are shut down before even having a chance to explain fully, our suggestions are dismissed, and our voice is dwindled down into a whisper in a room that is overpowered with noise. We could have the best idea in the world and flawless execution, but it simply falls flat when others dismiss it without a second thought.

It’s like putting a firework in water, the flame is gone. It cannot be lit again. There are no mesmerizing light displays. No communal enjoyment.

When this happens, it is difficult (often impossible) to re-light the flame.

It is the same with people.

Once your voice is silenced and ideas are dismissed, the true potential inside is also dimmed.

The other day, I heard a quote from Steve Jobs who said,” It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people and let them tell us what to do.” In other words, create fireworks together. Let the smart people create fireworks for themselves, and in turn, it will also create massive fireworks for the organization.

Personally, be supportive for friends and watch them explode!

We all have the potential to ignite the chemical reaction that makes magic. The question it, will you be the one to light the flame, or will you be the one to toss it in the bucket?

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Is there really such a thing? As humans, we are always thinking about the next thing. Whether it is a professional accomplishment or a personal milestone, the future is always at the forefront. This summer, I have discovered the one question that should enter our minds instead. We SHOULD be asking ourselves, “What about the present?”

The reality is, we do not give this simple question as much thought as we should.

I did something that I have never done before this summer in an effort to embrace contentment. I looked at my phone one time in a five-day period. Let’s think about that for a moment…one time in five days. That is HUGE for me! In an era where phones have become our lifelines to the outside world, dependence is at an all-time high.

To be honest, the main reason for minimal phone usage can be attributed to the fact that I did not have an international plan. Not wanting to pay the fees might have been the initial reason, but truth be told, I loved the break from it! I did used the camera feature but steered clear of email and social media. The break helped me clear my mind, really get into a good book and just be present with my family.

We told stories. We played games. We enjoyed laughter and music. Most of all, we were content.

I’m not certain if it was because we all made an effort to truly live in the moment, or the geographic location that we enjoyed or both, but the outcome was…the BEST vacation!

In fact, the vacation was so good that my son cried because he did not want to leave. He was just overcome with all the feelings of a great time surrounded by those he loved in a magical location. In retrospect, I might have missed that sweet moment with my son if my attention was on my phone instead of on my family. Instead, I was next to him on the hammock sharing a memorable conversation on what made our time together so very special. That conversation shaped how I look at vacations going forward.

I want to spread that contentment into everyday life, but it is a challenge.

This is a challenge that I am ready to accept.

It is healthy and vital to the human spirit to have goals and aspirations, but NOT at the cost of foregoing what we have currently.

Look around and just be present. Be content.

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I was driving my son home from school recently when a traffic light began to change quickly. What followed immediately was a split-second decision that had to be made. We have all been there. Do we take our chances and run the light or slam on the brakes to avoid the potentially red light? I chose to continue moving forward as it seemed like the safer option. After we went under the light, my son commented, “Don’t worry mom, it was only yellow. The yellow light is simply there to warn us that red light is coming.”

His comment caused a brief pause and then thoughts began to flood into my head.

This sent my mind into a flurry thinking that the statement that he made was indeed true. But I was left asking myself, “Why it is that we receive warnings like a yellow light when driving, but not in our lives?”

Sometimes we could all use a little yellow in our lives. We just need a simple reminder that we have a choice. Not only when things are going wrong, but time to appreciate when things are going right. Instead of a warning of danger, a warning to stop and appreciate the blessings.

We move in life at such a fast pace that the good parts often pass by entirely too quickly. We are so busy that we often miss the good stuff…the moments that we should treasure.

I have been a bit quieter on this blog for a while and it is simply because I needed a little yellow in my life. I needed to take the time to appreciate and savor the good moments. I needed more family time. I’m not goanna lie, but I needed more “me time” too! Don’t we all? The world moves so quickly and expects us to follow suit. The key is knowing that we have the power to slow down when we need and travel life at our own pace.

I have a college friend that walked away from a successful career, as did her husband, to embrace a life on a sailboat. They do not have any children and no outstanding obligations to keep them in one place. So, they just made the leap and did not look back. I never know where they are, but man, that is admirable. I’m guessing that they needed a little yellow too!

Why is the “yellow time” so elusive to many of us? We need more time to stop and think before a decision is made. We need time to appreciate all the good things in life instead of just focusing on things that go wrong and stop us in our tracks.

I challenge you to do something every day to remind you what is really important. I invite you to slow down a bit and enjoy. Afterall, it is your life!

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