Category Archives: Laura Buckley

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

During this season, as we celebrate Christmas, we are inundated with requests for charity.

When I think of charity I have some rather deeply personal views on this topic.  I am challenged by what charity means to me and what I do or don’t do about it.  We all have our own motivations for being charitable.  These may range from religious or spiritual beliefs held dear and close to heart, a general sense of benevolence, or a desire to make a difference in this world.

Charitable actions come in many different shapes, forms and varieties.  To some charity is generous financial contributions to organizations undertaking charitable work.   Others contribute to the community by preparing nutritious meals for those facing hunger when they, themselves, are living with limited means.  It could be the gift of time teaching a class for students in need of additional tuition.  Then there is the senior citizen I know who sits all year knitting wool beanies, despite her arthritis, for orphans in need of winter woollies.

I am humbled by the many examples of charity around me that I encounter on a daily basis.  I am blessed and inspired by people in my life who, I believe, are the epitome of what it means to be charitable.  You don’t talk charity, you live it daily in your lives.  You seek nothing in return.  You do not look for your name on a plaque placed prominently on [insert any donated object here].  You do not go about selective charitable donations to get a tax refund.  Charity is not a once off event on your calendar.  When you feed a hungry family you do so without fuss and bother, without alerting the media to your efforts.  Day in and day out, 365 days a year, you are tirelessly and selflessly giving of yourselves to others.

Personally, I understand charity to being committed to the continuous giving of oneself, in a meaningful way, to aid and assist others without expecting anything in return.

Okay, great, so I have developed my own understanding.  But having such a noble and lofty understanding is worthless without my own, personal, call to action.  Words without action are a waste of breath.  Until I get up, out of my comfort zone, and actively do something about my personal call to action I am wasting my time writing this article, not to mention wasting your time reading this.

So, I ponder more on this topic, and think of the words of Mahatma Gandhi:  “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.  It all starts with me.  If I don’t want to see hunger in the world, for example, why am I not making an extra sandwich, when preparing my daily lunch, for the hungry person I pass on my way to work each morning?  Small example, but food for thought [no pun intended].

As I write this I am reminded of the article I wrote – Just for Today.  As I continuously seek to be a lifelong learner I need to challenge how I choose to live my life in order to grow and move forward as an individual.  So I challenge my status quo.  I have now added charity to my “Just for today” daily motivational.  As I step out into this unchartered territory I do not yet quite know how this is going to play out.  I know this, without taking the first step I’m never going to get anywhere, never move forward, never make a difference, and most certainly will never contribute to the change I wish to see in the world.

I dedicate this article to all the wonderfully inspirational people in my life who, without knowing it, challenge me to my core on this rather personal, and for some, sensitive topic.


Be the change you wish to see in the world

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

Getting out of the box

For a long time I’ve had the terrible habit of putting myself, and others, into boxes.  Not physical boxes, but mental boxes, boxes that carry labels.  Oh I’m just a techie.  Or, he’s just a teller at the checkout counter.  Perhaps you have done the same at some point or another in life and can relate.  Recently I became acutely aware of this rather disappointing habit.

What happens when we put ourselves, or others, into boxes?  I have come to understand that by labelling, by putting into boxes, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to get to know and understand each person, including ourselves, as individuals.  Each of us has hopes and dreams.  I believe we all have hidden and uncovered talents.  I believe that labelling ourselves, and others, puts us at a distinct disadvantage in our interpersonal relationships.  It doesn’t matter if we are applying this to the relationship we have with ourselves, or the casual encounter we have with the person at the checkout counter.

We can take this one step further.  Have you ever had somebody introduce themselves using this as the opening part of their introduction:  “I’m just a…..”  Now how’s that for a label?  “I’m just a….” do we even hear what comes next or do we subconsciously place that person into the insignificant or unimportant box?  Can we honestly say that we take the rest of the conversation with that person seriously, or do they remain in our mental box?

Perhaps it’s time we start dismantling the boxes, removing the labels along with their negative connotations, and get to know each other as people, as individuals, and see the incredible wealth of talent in each other.  We all bring something unique to the table.  I firmly believe that the only way to do this is by removing our own labels first.  To label is to hold onto pre-conceived ideas.

I recently victimised myself and sabotaged my own performance by placing myself in a box and assuming a label – I am a technical support engineer.  I fix technical issues, that’s what I do.  The challenge facing me was a training workshop for sales people.  I wore my label and lived in my box, subconsciously telling myself that I would not pass the final grading let alone excel at it.  I wore my label so stubbornly that other delegates put me into the same box with the same label.   To my surprise I got more than just a passing grade.  It surprised the course facilitators too as I had let them subconsciously accept the box I’d placed myself so firmly in.  What if I had kept a more open mind going into the workshop?  What if I had more readily embraced the opportunity to learn and grow in uncharted territory?  Instead I trapped myself and hampered my own growth.  All my own doing.

So this brings me full-circle in this article.  I start with myself.  I need to consciously step outside of any box I may want place myself in.  I need to break down those mental labels I apply to myself.  If I don’t do this I will forever hold myself back and hamper my own growth.  If I don’t stop labelling myself how can I expect others to stop?

Getting out of the box

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

The End of an Era

Today I write about something not so philosophical or perhaps profound as I have done in the past.  I write about the end of an era, the closing of a chapter in my life and, indeed, the beginning of a new one.  After twelve years I have resigned from my current place of employment.   The past twelve years have been a tremendous journey of opportunity and growth.

So why would I make this change now after such a long period of time, time that has been happy and joyful?  Sometimes in life opportunity comes knocking at your door totally unexpectedly.  Out the blue a potential new chapter in life presents itself.

Let’s take a step back here for a moment and look at some of the history behind this.  I’ve been working with email and email systems since 1994.  Essentially from the birth of email as a communication and collaboration tool in businesses.  I’m passionate about email systems, fascinated by how they work.  This passion of mine led to extensive participation in community forums – answering questions, assisting with resolving issues experienced by folk all over the globe.  I’ve written technical articles, published [amateur] training videos all in my quest to share knowledge.  Some call this my hobby, I call it my passion.

My contributions in this area appear to have been noticed.  Suddenly I get a phone call from a global company asking me to come work for them doing just this, supporting and assisting email administrators globally.  My hobby, my passion, has now turned into a new job!  I will be in a position to continue sharing knowledge whilst remaining a lifelong learner.

I’ve spent some time reading my own previous posts and realise, yet again, just how much they apply to my life – how I have prepared for this day, how I’ve prepared for new opportunities, how I can approach this massive change by starting with that first single step.

So where to from here?  We are relocating to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in a few short weeks.  A new country, a new job, new opportunities to learn and grow.  I am excited and nervous simultaneously.  This is a huge step, a massive change.  But I remind myself of taking that first step and how I plan my journey in small stages.  So here I am walking along an untrodden path and climbing a new mountain one step at a time.

 

The end of an era

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura