#YouMatter: Two Words Mom Most Wants to Hear

This weekend we celebrate the wonder of motherhood. Mothers give birth to us, feed us, clothe us, raise us to be strong and kind, and then tearfully send us out in the world to make our mark.

Most of us call our mother, some every day, some once a week, and some now and then. We regale her with our accomplishments, gossip a bit, talk about the news, and talk a bit about her life.

There are two words that most of us do not say enough to Mom:

YOU MATTER.

I know what you’re thinking: “My mother doesn’t need to hear this. She raised a bunch of kids and now has grandkids and we all love her, and we tell her that all the time.”

You are so wrong. Yes, mom needs to be told—and shown—that you love her. It’s a “very nice to have.” But in addition to “you matter,” there are three other words she needs to hear, regardless of her age: “We need you.”

This isn’t ego. This is biology. Human beings were created for significance, and the most dangerous feeling your mother can feel is that she doesn’t matter, that no one needs her.

This is commonly and acutely felt among “empty nesters” and retired people. As much as your mother feels relief that she doesn’t have to dress you or watch you cross the street, at the same time, she very likely also feels like she matters less than she once did.

It’s fulfilling to know that there is someone in the world who cares deeply that you wake up each morning and do what mothers do. When the last kid leaves the nest or someone works their last day, their “mattering quotient” (a term I heard from a retired partner of a Big 4 Accounting firm) diminishes right away.

The words “You Matter,” when understood and leveraged in the right way, can change your mother’s life, for good. These words are the fuel she may need overcome the subtle and overt biases that militate against a woman’s belief that she can have a big impact on the world. These two words serve as an invitation to mothers to follow their passion, wherever it may lead them, to make a difference in this world.

Here is why these two words are so powerful:

  1. YOU MATTER is Affirming

These words are not a statement of inspiration; they are a statement of value. There is a difference between being admired for what you know, and being valued for who you are. Mothers need to know they are essential, to you and to the world.

  1. YOU MATTER is Vision Casting

Mothers, at any age, are on a journey. If their kids have left home or they have retired, they are figuring out who they are now, and where their place is in this world. These two words are an investment in this process, casting a clear vision for their future and potential.

  1. YOU MATTER is a Call to Action

“You matter” is not an inspiration. It is a call to action; a challenge to your mother to become the kind of citizen this world needs her to be.

When your mother knows she matters, she will be prepared to emulate women such as:

  • Lillian Weber, who at the age of 97, began sewing dresses for young girls in Africa and completed 1,234 over the next four years.
  • Elizabeth Laird, who, at the age of 71, began hugging every soldier at Fort Hood who left for or returned from an overseas mission; she totaled more than 500,000 hugs. One soldier wrote to her: “You gave us just an ounce of humanity before we spent the next year of our lives in a place that was tantamount to hell and devoid of humanity….The gift you gave us is immeasurable.”

If we want mothers to simply think in terms of “How can I earn my paycheck?” or “How can I pass time,” then merely saying “I love you” is fine. However, if as a society, we want to unleash a pool of fierce and determined mothers who ask each morning, “How are we going to change the world?” then we need to let them know they matter. They will accept the challenge and focus their talents and contributions on changing the world.

These are two distinctly different futures for your mother, and the world.

Which future do you want to promote?

*****

Ready to start today? Read 9 Ways to Let Your Mother Know She Matters on Huffington Post

Printers Matter

I have been in the market for a new printer for my small business for quite some time. I must admit, Xerox was not the first brand that came to mind.  I was immediately taken back to my days in the classroom and the hours I spent standing in line waiting patiently for access to the furniture sized workhorse machine that everyone in the school needed to use at the same time.

Xerox you have come a long way.   I was intrigued to learn about and try out their new line of printers that are targeted for small-to-medium-sized businesses like mine who have limited IT resources and need something powerful and efficient but don't have space for a massive machine and all that comes with it.  

The Xerox Versalink C405 was delivered right to my door only a day after placing my order.  I’ve had great time printing, faxing, scanning, and deciding if this little powerhouse machine is the right fit for my business and the teachers and schools I work with.

Here’s a quick rundown of what I discovered.

The Pros:

Set Up:  You can’t beat it being literally right out of the box and ready to go!  No difficult painstaking downloads, minuscule print manuals, or long online discussions. It was a no stress; no frustration process.  Print, copy, scan, fax, email; the moment you take it out of the box.

Sync:  Seamless out-of-the-box direct connectivity to Google Drive™ and  DropBox™ as well as access to additional options through the Xerox® App Gallery.  It’s a game changer for connected educators and busy entrepreneurs.

Screen: The touchscreen is beautiful hi-res color; easy to see and use.

Size:  Slightly bigger than I anticipated…about the size of a small dorm room refrigerator, but it is compact enough to  fit on a small desktop or nicely in classroom or office.

Design: (Yes looks matter!) Nice deep blue topped casing is a nice change from the all ivory/gray look of typical printers we were used to.

Speed:  Fantastic—crisp, clear, and FAST —a matter of seconds.  Double sided scanning in one pass too – Nice!

Quality: Best quality color laser prints I have ever seen.

Adaptability:  The ability to connect and print from multiple devices is a must have for any business today.

Cons:

Overall Cost:  It is a bit more than I was thinking of spending, but not out of budget for a small business.  Given its attributes, it’s definitely worth it.

Toner: Although the toner cost appears to be high and a potential downside, it’s actually very competitive for this class of product.  The cost to print is better than most products in this class, which means the overall machine is a great value.  The unit comes with toner for 2,000 color and 3,000 monochrome prints – which will vary based on what’s being printed.  When it’s time to replace the toner, there are multiple options available to suit whatever budget exists.  

 WiFi: It is a little extra cost and work to set up the WIFI module if you need it.  Once installed, connecting is a breeze and literally took seconds.  No cables to fight any longer.

Paper:  The printer doesn't support 11" x 17" paper.  For me, this was not a game changer.  However, this may be for others who may utilize the printer for tabloid documents.

Conclusion:

I love the new Xerox Versalink C405!

It is a great upgrade from any printer I have used or owned to date.

It is a perfect addition to my home office and small business as it can accomplish the many and varied needs I have.  I can envision it saving time and money; and increasing productivity for other educators and entrepreneurs who have similar challenges.

The best part for me is the versatility that comes with the freedom to work when, where, and how you want.

It makes me want to do more—because I can!

 

3 Reasons Why Mattering Is the Agenda, or Should Be!

Reason #1: CHANGE A HEART. CHANGE A MIND. CHANGE A WORLD.

WHY MAKE MATTERING THE AGENDA in your workplace, school and local community?  This is like asking, why breathe air, drink water and eat food? Once the necessities for human life are met, the need to matter trumps almost everything else. We were created for significance, and for us to perceive that we don’t matter is both dangerous and terrifying. When people know that they matter and their genius is needed by the world, hearts and minds change.  Worlds change.

Reason #2: ENGAGEMENT MATTERS

Disengagement runs rampant amongst employees: “The percentage of U.S. workers in 2015 who Gallup considered engaged in their jobs averaged 32%. The majority (50.8%) of employees were ‘not engaged,’ while another 17.2% were ‘actively disengaged.’” This $11B annual loss for companies can be rectified with two words: YOU MATTER. We call YOU to consciously disrupt this pattern by choosing to lead a scalable and sustainable initiative to turnaround the culture in your community by letting everyone know that their contribution and actions are important and ultimately they matter! The most essential values a businessshould follow for long-term success are putting employees first, establishing a solid foundation of trust and integrity as well as strong models for customer care, according to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.

Reason #3: TWO WORDS CAN BRING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER: #YOUMATTER

Meeting your employees’ needs beyond a financial perspective can potentially boost efficiency and maximize gains in the long run. How? Try using simple words and actions to impact your community, like sending MATTERGRAMs: an ingenuous reminder that can change a day, a mind or a heart. Create an interpersonal message and let others know in your community and workplace that they matter. Imagine receiving a MATTERGRAM saying that you’re enough, you have influence, you are a genius, you have a contribution to make, you have a gift that others need, you are the change, your actions define your impact and YOU MATTER! These two words can change lives and change our world, if we understand them and we leverage them in the right way.

Explaining Personal Branding to Students

You are a brand, this is not something many of us as adults understand, because of that it is most likely a conversation we are not having with our students but need to have! This video explains that our brand is our story and our stories matter. Not only that you matter but how you matter, inspired and helped by you. Our story is the gift to the world; tell your story of your own genius and abilities today!

Genius Matters: 30 Lessons That Liberate Genius #choose2matter

I have spent my whole career in the presence of genius; surrounded by teachers, leaders and students. Nothing excites me more than seeing someone fiercely own their genius after realizing the world needs their particular talent and perspective.

Genius is the source of our energy and the root of our resiliency. When faced with challenges, it is our genius that helps us overcome them. Yet we live and work in a world where most of us have been conditioned to underestimate, doubt, and even ignore our unique talents and passions.

Our students’ genius is waiting to be unleashed, and we have to be the ones who liberate it. Consider this your personal invitation to do so. We provide a step-by-step guide to help you illu­minate, cultivate, and celebrate the unique contributions you and your students have to share with the world.

By joining this discussion, you are honoring these truths.

  • WE matter.
  • WE are all geniuses, and the world needs our contribution.
  • YOU are the voice students need to whisper in their ears when the world tells them otherwise.
  • YOU are the change.

This is for communities of teachers and leaders across the world that have created settings where genius not only survives; it thrives.  They are so numerous, I cannot list them by name but I want to point toward them and shine a light on their unwavering belief in themselves and their students. You have my eternal gratitude, love and respect.

I want to extend a very special thank you to all the teachers who have opened their classroom to me, to all the students who have inspired these conversations to be deeper and more impactful and all the change makers I have been privileged to know and learn from.

I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to the entire SMART team. It is such and honor and pleasure to work with people who are not only brilliant and creative but always growing, searching and deepening their commitment to children and to this mission.  It is an honor to be your partner and I appreciate you providing a free copy to all who wish to join this journey with us:  GENIUS MATTERS

The impact that you make on your students will define much of the impact you make on this world. Together we will find our will and our voice. Together we can and will make the world a better place. Let’s do this, step-by-step, one lesson at a time and watch our brave grow! I can’t wait to take this journey with you!

You Matter, Angela Maiers

Ask Your Kids, “What is a Genius?”

What is a Genius? We ask students this all the time. Their responses are very simple at first, but once they dig in, they come up with some profound ideas. What happens when parents have this conversation with their children? Most recently a proud mom, Anne Schreiber, shared, “We have many discussions on genius in our household – how to define it, how to find it, how to recognize it, how to live it. We discuss moral courage and personal integrity as a foundation to realize individual genius.”

Consequently, Anne’s daughter, Isabel, wrote an insightful essay that unpacks the nuances of this heavily loaded word “GENIUS.” Here are some of the excerpts from her piece:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” (Albert Einstein) How does one measure talent and intelligence? Some educators use the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as a measure in which an individual becomes defined by a number after taking a test.

Genius is not a person. Genius is not how well you can perform on a test or your ability to write a paper. Genius is something that is given a new definition every time it is used or performed for each and every individual that defines and then redefines the definition. Genius is not something you are taught in school or something you gain through education. Genius is inside us all – something that lives within you. Something that you create for yourself and is based upon yourself. Whether it is a groundbreaking neurosurgeon or a local artist whose paintings change your outlook on life, you can find genius everywhere.

 A genius is someone who can create and thrive in life, based on their abilities but most of all their imagination. Therefore, everyone is a genius because everyone has an imagination. Our knowledge and self-worth have become purely based on numbers and on “how well” tasks are performed on tests. This is a silly measure to base such a large part of your identity upon. Test taking and memorization are skills, not ideas and thinking that will go on to change the world. If this world was solely made up of people who were talented in memorization and test-taking, or solely on people that we are taught are genius, not only would it be quite boring, but also many inventions and discoveries would never have been made.

Genius is not defined by how others see you. Genius is the ability to find perseverance when everyone has told you otherwise. Genius is realizing that we are all created with strengths and weaknesses and knowing that, still finding a way to thrive. Remember when you get stuck, you are probably a fish trying to climb up a tree and eventually it will be a race to swim across the ocean. Genius is all around you; it all depends on how far you let your imagination take you.

Parents Matter! Next time you get a chance, ask your children, what is a genius? Who knows, maybe they will be inspired to write an essay and contribute to the world.

Every Workplace Needs a YOU MATTER Cart

A few weeks ago, Darcy Neymeyer, a school counselor at Villas Elementary in Fort Myers, Florida, shared photos of their novel concept: a “You Matter Cart.” Stacked with recently donated foods and drinks to be distributed to all staff members, the cart traveled around the school corridors telling their teachers, office staff, paraprofessionals, custodians and food service workers that they all mattered.

When we work day after day tirelessly, how fulfilling is it to hear from your colleagues and administrators that your work and effort is an important contribution to your community and the world? Gallup Polls reveal pitiful statistics suggesting that only 13% of employees working for an organization are actually engaged. The most dangerous thing for any human being is to believe they don’t matter. Our workplaces lack the ability to carve out time to recognize how their gifts are needed and essential to an organization. But there is a solution…

Simple words and actions have a colossal impact in your community; it is an essential part of our human DNA to feel needed. Imagine waking up in the morning, jumping out of bed and running to work knowing that your efforts are valued and indispensable to the company?

Next time you have an opportunity to give back to your employees, why not say or write these words: You are enough, you have influence, you are a genius, you have a contribution to make, you have a gift that others need, you are the change, your actions define your impact and YOU MATTER! These two words can change lives and change our world, if we understand them and we leverage them in the right way.

Reflecting on Thankfulness: A Teacher’s Story

So often we are faced with unusual circumstances in life and we have to dig deep down and ask ourselves: when overcome with adversity, how do I determine what matters to me? Who in my life continues to support me when I continue to struggle? Ultimately, what is my heartbreak and how do I mend it?

Mark Tobin, a committed 17-year elementary educator in Toronto, Ontario, exemplifies strength and resilience in a time of trepidation.

Mark recently reached out to share his story of triumph and tribulations. He currently struggles with a hereditary neurological disease called spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), in which his cerebellum is deteriorating, thus reducing his control of both gross and fine motor functions including: speech, walking, writing and eventually even swallowing. He knew the disease all too well, witnessing the symptoms through his grandmother and mother, who both suffered from SCA.

Mark, a passionate teacher and storyteller expressed how his profession motivates him to pursue speech therapy and practice pre-written scripts for the following day’s lessons/learning activities. He proclaims, “My passion for teaching has not wavered over the course of my career; my determination grows because I want to make every minute count as an educator before I leave the school environment. When I finally do need to leave, I still want to remain in the education field to share my knowledge and vision with others. It won’t be the same as teaching a class, but hopefully it still feeds my passion.”

Throughout the daily challenges, Mark emphasizes, “I have always learned that you share and trust those who matter to you. My students and parents are my ‘school family’ and they matter to me.”

He continues to tell his story about his lifelong hereditary battle with SCA, not to look for sympathy, but rather to build awareness and hope. After sharing his personal narrative called, Lost Smiles, by far the most challenging story of his life, his community radiated support and gratitude. He selflessly noted, “I really hope the students realize that we all have a story to share that will connect and inspire others.”

Mark’s words capture humanity at its best: “I shake my head and recognize that the changes in my health are actually strengthening my passion to continue doing the things I love.  I may do things differently but my passion remains intact.  I am not going to let this disease take away my smile. I am going to continue to do the things that I love like teaching, drawing and storytelling. As it becomes more difficult for me to do these things, I will teach myself new ways to teach, draw and tell stories with a great big smile on my face. My family, friends, and students are always there when I need them. I consider myself very lucky person to be able to still do the things I have passion for. When I come to school, I always have a smile on my face because I know that we are all here to support each other. In life we all face challenges and no one should ever lose their smile.”

Thank you Mark for making us smile and for sharing not only your heartbreak, but your passion for education that continues to ignite your community. You Matter and the world needs your contribution!